Maxwell Grantly

Magical stories from an independent author

Archive for the month “July, 2012”

The Search For Kris’s Gift (Part 1)

One barmy July day Kris, Maxwell and Skippy say around the story table of the Enchanted table, simply to relax and enjoy the value of each other’s company.

“Everyone has a gift, yes?” declared Skippy in that particular tone of voice that declared he was thinking aloud. “After all,” Skippy continued, “Maxwell is a Whisperer; he can listen and talk with all the animals of the land, sea and air. And I am a Weaver, I can weave all manner of wondrous things from the finest spiders’ silk.”

Kris and Maxwell both nodded sleepily, half listening and half in the world of their dreams.

“So,” concluded Skippy, “so what is Kris’s special gift? What is it that Kris can do, that no one else can?”

Maxwell and Kris exchanged glances. Skippy had raised an important question and neither of them knew the answer.

“Gifts, gifts gifts,” Maxwell murmured, “Three elves should have three gifts; Kris is one special brother but I don’t know what his gift is.”

There was a pause while all three of them exchanged further glances. None of them knew the answer and none of them was sure  how to find out.

“Gifts, gifts, gifts,” repeated Skippy, as he pondered and thought aloud.

“Gifts!” exclaimed Kris with a astonished cry, “Perhaps Santa Claus will know. After all, he is world famous for presents of all sorts. He’s bound to know!”

A flicker of a smile traced its finger across the face of each elf in turn and one-by-one each of them began to beam.

“We ought to travel to the North Pole and find Santa,” added Kris, in a stroke of genius, “That would make an amazing journey!”

And so the three little elves began to pack excitedily for their long trek to the snowy wastelands of the North Pole. They dressed up warmly in the thickness of parka coats and packed their bags with an array of useful items, such as … … catapults, lengths of flaxen string, balls of amber bees’ wax, slithers of garnet stone and a manner of all sorts of useful items that only a child would collect. Very soon they were on the march to the North Pole, walking with purpose, grit and determination like a row of three soldier ants. Their journey took them past mountains and vales, over oceans and deserts through meadows and forests but ultimately they arrived at a single post standing defiantly in the snow. It was a white and red pole, standing on guard in the desolate blizzards of blinding snow, holding a small wooden placard announcing its location, The North Pole.

The Three Elves Reach the North Pole

The three elves spotted a faint hazy lights shining through the misty windows of a tumbled down warehouse and then ran to its doors. With a respectful knock and a mighty heave, they opened its mighty portals and stepped inside to the safety of the building’s interior. There at the far end of the array of toy-ladened shelves stood a small jolly fellow, dressed in red capes, hemmed with white fur-lined edges. Santa turned and faced the three visitors and after a greeting, the smallest of the elves plucked up the courage to ask the important question.

“We’ve come to ask a favour of you Mister Santa,” began Skippy with a slight air of hesitancy. “It’s about gifts.”

“Ah, many children do,” interrupted Santa with a smile, “What is it to be this year? A train set? A tin solider? A sail boat?”

“Oh, no Santa!” interrupted Maxwell, “It’s not that sort of gift. Not that sort of gift at all.”

“We would love to know what my gift is,” concluded Kris.

The words of the three elves mixed and overlapped like the eddies of seashore waves ebbing and flowing around the maze of boulders and rocks at the ocean’s edge.

“Whoa! Hold on little fellows!” interrupted Santa, “I leave gifts of stripped candy canes, Satsuma globes and wooden spinning tops…” “… I’m not able to tell you what it is you need to know. You need to visit the Southern Oracle. She is the only one who can answer your question.”

“And where may we find the home of the Southern Oracle?” asked the three elves in union, for they were desperate to achieve the answer to their quest.

Santa pointed in the direction of the reindeer stables, for it was only them who knew the twist and turn of every pathway around the globe.

“But I warn you,” he finished, “I have eight reindeer and they are most fickle with questions. Only one of them will answer your question truthfully. The others will not.”

“Which reindeer should we ask, Santa?” began Skippy, as he started to name the reindeer one-by-one, “Dancer? Prancer? Dasher? Vixen? Comet? Cupid?  …”

“Goodness me!” chuckled Santa Claus, “Not even I know which one to trust, That’s something you’ll have to work out for yourselves!”

With that he bade the three young elves goodbye, as they made they way onto the reindeer stables, and he stood at the door and waved them off. Soon, within a few seconds, they had reached the straw-lined warmth of the reindeer house and they saw a sight that confused their minds. There in the stables stood eight tiny reindeer, each one identical to the others and each one chewing on tuffs of straw from a stocked manager. Maxwell stood by one of the reindeer and tenderly stroked its velvet nose with a gentle caress.

“Can you tell us the way to the Southern Oracle please? We need to find the answer to an important question,” he whispered gently in its ear.

At once all eight reindeer lifted their heads turned and spoke together in a cacophony of chatter. “The Sea of Dreams, The Forests of Furia, The Enchanted Isles, The Swamps of Sadness, The Northern Mountains, The Deserts of Despair, The Western Isles, The Crystal Caves.”

Which one was telling the truth and which seven were not? It was impossible to tell and it seemed as if their question was going to be futile.

Kris pointed to one of the reindeer with a strong and definite finger announcing, “That’s the one! That’s the one you should ask!”

“But how do you know?” enquired both Skippy and Maxwell with a confused look of astonishment etched upon their faces.

“It’s not what they say,” replied Kris with an air of authority, “It’s what they don’t! Look at the quiver of his whisker, the faint trace of his hoof upon the ground, the gleam in his eye and the twitch of the hairs within his ear.” Kris pointed again to the same reindeer and repeated his request; “That’s the one you should ask.”

Maxwell turned to the reindeer and asked again, “Can you tell us the way to the Southern Oracle please?”

The reindeer lifted his snout towards the elves and repeated the phrase, “The Swamps of Sadness. But to get there, you need to travel to the Lonely Plains and pass through its gate.It’s a long and dangerous journey and it is fraught with difficulties at every step. Very few ever manage to reach their destination. You need to be strong and courageous.” The reindeer pointed towards the door of the stables and gave a small sigh. “Be united and resolute,” he said, “Be determined and fearless. For, if not, you will never reach the Southern Oracle.”

The reindeer bowed his head with respect and nudged the elves affectionately. He knew it was going to be a tremendous quest and one that would test their friendship. But, he also knew that it was a journey that they needed to take and no reindeer warning would ever deter them from their chosen journey.

The Pirate Adventure

One June Sunday afternoon, Johan handed Little Teddy a pirate’s hat and took him by the hand, into the back garden.

“What’s happening?” enquired Teddy with an inquisitive tone.

“We’re going to play pirates,” replied Johan, as they stepped towards an old cardboard box lying on the lawn. “And we might be gone a very long time.

“When we will get back?” asked the little bear with an intrepid glance back towards his boy.

“Weeks and weeks,” Johan answered with a mischievous smile, “We won’t be home until teatime at least!”

The little bear stepped into the cardboard box and Johan followed in behind.

“Raise the main sail,” called out Johan, “and steady as she goes.”

The sails billowed in the sailed and tugged away at the small ship, as they sailed out across the ocean. Soon their homeport was no more than a small speck on the horizon behind them and the expanse of the ocean lay before them.

As they journeyed away, Little Teddy pointed to the two barrels on the main deck and his curiosity began to get the better of him.

Teddy and Johan Guard the Honey Barrels

“What’s inside these?” he asked Johan, pointing to the two sturdy containers lashed together on the exposed deck of the vessel.

“That’s our valuable consignment of the finest honeys, stolen from the King’s ships off the Caribbean Isles,” replied Johan proudly.

The small bear looked up with awe and wonder at his faithful companion. Johan certainly knew how to treat his little teddy well and he was obviously a loyal and faithful friend.

A single spot of rain landed softly upon Johan’s face.

“We’re in for a heavy storm,” the boy called out and he began to lash the honey barrels securely with think binding hemp ropes, as the ship began to heave and roll in the mighty surf. “Did you see that flash of lightning?” he yelled to his teddy through the imaginary gales of tormenting winds. “Fasten down the main hatch!”

Another single spot of rain fell onto the bear’s nose and Little Teddy felt its gentle caress as it rolled down to his nostril. He licked it off with a single swipe of his tongue.

A Storm at Sea

“Aye Aye Master!” replied the bear and he attended to his chore dutifully anticipating a dreadful gale to strike the vulnerable ship as she heaved in the mighty waves.

Mrs. Jones from next door dashed out into her garden with an empty laundry basket, towards her linen blowing gently in the breeze.

“It looks like rain!” she called out over the fence, as she hastened to collect her drying clothes before the rain set in.

Johan screamed at the neighbour with feigned surprise, “A sea monster! A sea monster! It’s after our valuable cargo.”

He pointed to a mass of seething tentacles erupting from the surface of the waves. Slowly and methodically, each tentacle began to entrap the tiny vessel and began to pull at the delicate structure. Little Teddy began to panic as the ship began to heave under the strain.

The Monster Attacks

“What shall we do?” he squealed with a terrified wail.

“We must save the honey,” called out Johan and he began to lash through the air with a wooden sword at the entanglement of tentacles as they seethed and pulled at the small ship. The small bear pulled his small wooden sword from his sheath and began to swing and wave his sword in the air too but the two of them were no match against the massive monster of the deep.

Monster Attacks!

“Perhaps we could sacrifice one of the barrels in order to divert the monster,” suggested the little bear.  “There are two of us and two barrels. Let’s release your barrel into the sea as a diversion and then make good our escape.”

Release the Honey!

Johan gave a knowing wink and shouted his agreement above the sound of the imaginary  gale. Soon the two of them had unlashed one mighty barrel and rolled it to the edge of the ship. With one enormous heave, they barged it over the edge of the vessel and it fell gently, almost too gently, like a champagne cork onto the surface of the frothing waves. The sea monster’s tentacles loosened their grip on the ship and coiled around the bopping container as it sunk beneath the waves, clutching its prized honey-barreled treasure.

The Monster Retires

Mrs. Jones collected the last few items of clothing from her washing line and dashed back inside her house as the spots of rain began to hasten.

“The monster’s retreating!” they cried out together, “The plan has worked!”

The two companions stood on the deck and surveyed the remaining barrel, labeled “Johan’s Honey” lashed safely on board.

“Which barrel did we push overboard? quizzed Johan to his bear, as the realization of their dreadful error began to sink in.

“Its of no importance,” blushed the little bear, “You might have known that two barrels of honey was too great a temptation for a little bear like me, on such a long voyage like this.”

He tapped the side of the remaining barrel with the hilt of his wooden sword and a hollow boom echoed out from its depths. Johan looked at his playmate with a loving glance and he could hold no grudge for his teddy’s honey fetish. He should have realized that the small bear could not avoid the temptation of the honey treasures on such a long voyage.

“We had better make our escape before the sea monster returns,” exclaimed Johan and he reset the main sail.

The wind billowed in the canvas sheets and tugged the small vessel assuredly out across the ocean, away from the monsters lair.

The Escape

“Our pirate adventure was incredible!” Johan whispered to his faithful toy companion.

“And so was the honey!” the teddy replied, with a wink, to Johan.

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