Love’s Magical Touch

Here is the next part to yesterday’s post,The Bridge of Surprises The sequel is written around the word “crumb” today.

Vibrant, colorful birds flew around them. They heard the distant roar of a waterfall.

Chip looked up at Belle, his brown eyes full of wonder. “Where are we?”

Belle’s eyes reflected the same question. She still couldn’t get over the fact that the bell had worked! Never before had any of the fictional stories she read come true. This was beyond her wildest imagination. What did she do now?

“Look! There are crumbs on the ground. Its like someone made a trail. Can we follow it and see where it leads?” Chip looked at Belle, pleading with his eyes, and a touch of excitement in his voice.

“Sure we can, but take my hand. How would I ever explain to your Mom what happened, if you disappeared?

Immediately Chip took her hand, he was eager to get going.

As they walked they were serenaded by the birds. Bright blue butterflies took turns resting on their shoulders.

“Belle, you have the bestest kind of adventures! This is much more fun than picking gooseberries.”

Belle smiled and tousled his curly locks with her hand.

They kept walking and began to wonder how long this trail of crumbs was. Sometimes the trail had several twists in it, but they kept following it. Belle did decide that if they came to a house decorated with candy they would run fast! She wasn’t going to end up like Hansel and Gretel!

Belle was soaking in the pleasure of seeing so many stunning flowers. It was like they were all dressed in their finest attire.


Chip tugged on Belle’s arm. They both stared at the charming cabin ahead of them. Was this where they were supposed to go?

There were cheery yellow curtains in the windows and flower boxes of purple pansies in rhe windows. Whoever lived in the cabin, did a super job of making the cabin look inviting.

The door to the cabin swung open and a woman came out running with open arms. She stopped short at the sight of Belle and Chip.

“Who are you?? Where is he? Where is the one I love?

Chip and Belle didn’t know what to say to the crazy woman shouting at them. Seeing her shocked them, even before she had opened her mouth. She was a troll!

“Sorry ma’am, we don’t know who you mean. All we did was follow the trail of crumbs, and it led us here.”

The lady’s expression softened, but her eyes looked full of pain. Belle, who had a caring heart, felt sorry for her.

“Who are you looking for? Can I help?”

“My Ivan. My beloved. He lives under a bridge. He was supposed to come here with me, but he didn’t bave my hand when I rang the bell long ago. I wanted to go back to him but a squirrel ran away with the enchanted bell.”

Belle’s pulse quickened. Ivan, the Ivan that they had just escaped from? The miserable Ivan! One could see the kindness in her eyes in spite of the pain. She was opposite of Ivan, but perhaps he was a miserable hater because of a broken heart?

“I think I may be able to find him for you.”

A spark of longing and hope filled the woman’s eyes. Belle had to try, no matter how she felt about Ivan. Maybe being with his true love would.change him.

“Chip, grab my hand.” Belle took the cowbell out of her pocket and rang it. POOF! When the purple and pink smoke cleared, they were back on the troll’s bridge.

To their amazement Ivan was sitting on the bridge with tears in his eyes. He didn’t even yell at them when he saw them, he only looked at them in shock.

“My love disappeared long ago into a cloud of purple and pink smoke, like you all did. But she never came back.”

“Ivan grab my hand, I have a surprise for you.”

He looked uncertain and poor Chip wasn’t so sure either about taking Ivan the terrible with them. At least he had grabbed Belle’s hand, and not Chip’s.

“You really want to do something nice for me, after how I treated you and the boy?”

“I will always help someone find true love. Its beyond time that you are reunited with yours.”

“Thank you, and I am sorry for how I acted before.”

Chip’s mouth dropped open. Ivan had actually apologized! Miracles do happen!

The bell rang and POOF! They were transported back to the woods, in front of the cabin.

“Ivan!” The woman yelled. They embraced and when they kissed, Chip and Belle couldn’t believe their eyes. Ivan’s warts disappeared from his arm!

The woman, Susan, hugged Belle and thanked her. Ivan looked like a new person, smiling ear ear. Gratitude shining from his eyes. He joked with Chip and laughter bubbled out of him. His change of heart was incredible! Oh, what the touch of true love could do.

Belle was delighted that she had been able to help them. Chip, pulled on her arm. “Can we go back now. I am getting hungry, and all their kissing is making me sick.”

Laughing, Belle took his hand. Ivan and Susan were oblivious to them, they were lost in each other’s eyes.

Belle’s heart was warmed and she rang the bell. POOF! They were back on the bridge. It didn’t take them long to pick enough gooseberries for a pie. Some made it into Chip’s mouth, not the basket.

That night Mrs Potts baked a delicious Gooseberry pie. Chip and Belle talked about their magical adventure and everyone lived happily ever after.

The Bridge of Surprises

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In keeping with the Wordle challenge, to base my stories around the word, yesterday’s word was “hater.” Not a word that I guessed, by evidence of my 6 guesses, so I was a “hater” of Wordle yesterday, but I think it describes Ivan well. Enjoy the story!

Once upon a time, there was a girl with a big heart. She had a smile for everyone and loved many things. One of the many tbings she loved, was books. Being a voracious reader, Belle had read countless stories. The story she was reading now had her captivated.

She was working her way through the Prince’s massive library. It was her favorite part of the castle. It added to the magic of the charmed life she was living now. The life that felt too good to be true

Belle was still in awe of how her life had changed so quickly. From being terrified at being held prisoner by a beast, to falling in love with his heart, leading to him becoming a handsome Prince and she becoming his wife!

She could have been happy livimg anywhere, as long as her prince was by her side. But living in this stunning castle was a dream come true. The perfect fairytale.

Turning the page she smiled, yes, life was good. Now back to her story, before Mrs Potts called her for lunch.

Later that afternoon Belle took little Chip, Mrs Potts son, out for a walk. He was an adorable boy and he had fun going on little adventures with Belle. Today they were going to pick gooseberries for Mrs Potts delicious gooseberry pie. The Prince couldn’t get enough of them.

Taking Chip’s hand, Belle spoke to him. “Now remember, in order to get to the Gooseberry tree, we have to cross the bridge”

Chip made a face, “i don’t like crossing the bridge. That old troll scares me. He hates little children.”

“Don’t worry, I will take care of you. Maybe he will be asleep under the bridge and not even hear us coming.” Belle didn’t care for the troll either. He was a hater of everything, just a miserable man. Often she tried bribing him with special treats from Mrs Potts, but he would take the treat, only to spit it out and call it rubbish.

He needed a serious attitude adjustment!

Belle and Chip started walking and forgot about the troll as they walked along and chatted with Mother Goose, who was taking her children for a walk.

When they drew closer to the lake Chip got excited. “Look, there she is! The beautiful swan.”

Bonita was beautiful indeed, and to think that once she had been called an ugly duckling. She proved everyone wrong and was so kind. Total opposite of Ivan the terrible troll. She wasn’t a hater of anyone.

After stopping for a little to feed her some of Mrs Potts tasty bread they made their way closer to the bridge. Chip squeezed Bella’s hand tighter, with fear.

Bella tried to reassure him, but her own body was growing tense. They both were as quiet as mice, trying to walk real softly, so as not to awaken Ivan the Terrible.

They had made it halfway across and as Belle was beginning to breathe easier, Ivan suddenly came out from under the bridge. Jumping in front of them, with an angry face.

“How dare you disturb my sleep, while crossing my bridge?” He growled at them. Chip buried his face into Bella’s skirt.

“Why are you so mean? Its a day full of sunshine and the roses are blooming.”

“I hate sunshine and roses!” He stomped his feet on the bridge. Poor Chip started trembling. In a shaky voice but then with a boost of confidence, Chip said, “You are a big bully. Hater of everything. Go back under the bridge!’

Ivan’s eyes narrowed at him and his face was so red, it looked like smoke would pour out of his head any second. Belle squeezed Chip’s hand tighter.

“What did you call me? I will show you!” He reached out his arm, covered with warts, grabbing Chip, who let out a scream.

Belle didn’t know what to do, Ivan was stronger than she was, as she clung desperately to Chip. Then she saw it. The sun made it sparkle! Could it really be the enchanted cowbell from the book she was reading earlier?

There was only one way to find out. She grabbed the bell, while keeping hold of Chip with the other hand.

Ivan saw the shiny bell and was momentarily distracted enough for him to release his grip on Chip.

Belle wasted no time in ringing the bell. It worked! Pink and purple smoke filled the air. When the smoke cleared they had no idea where they were, but they weren’t on the troll’s bridge any longer. Chip’s eyes were wide with surprise. “That was the coolest thing ever!”

Belle was speechless. The book about the cowbell was true. Picking gooseberries would have to wait, they were going on an adventure!

(To be continued…)

When You Teach a Dog to Sing …

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One small thing before the story. Today’s word was difficult to guess. Another blogger friend, Clive, got it easily. I joked about using the word in my story and he issued a challenge. To use the daily Wordle Word in my stories. I can’t pass up challenges, so for a week I will try it, starting today. Today’s word is ennui. I never heard of this word before today, which would be why I guessed it, simply by accident. I was just putting in letters for I had given up! Have you heard it before?

Devin strummed the guitar and tilted back his head to sing. “You are off key Max, listen to me.” Devin sang a line. Max cocked his head, listening intently and then opened his mouth.

“Devin, Max! Go outside! I can’t hear myself think “

Nobody appreciated their music. Someday he and Max were going to be famous. They would see.

“C’mon Max! Let’s go buddy, we can sing for the birds and the bees.”

They walked out back and sat under the big shady Maple tree. Devin strummed and sang a note. Max joined in to harmonize. “Good boy, you are catching on. A little higher now.”

They were having a fun time, singing at the top of their lungs. To Devin’s surprise the dogs from all over the neighborhood were coming to his yard. He could teach them all how to sing.

All was going well, until Mrs Prune’s tabby cat entered their yard, chasing a small bunny. The cat realized his mistake too late. Suddenly everything was in an uproar as the dogs tore after the cat. Mrs Prune, took off after her cat and Devin was running, yelling for Max to stop. He fell, Splat, into a mud puddle, but got right back up and took off running again.

Devin’s mom couldn’t believe her eyes when she opened the back door to bring Devin a drink of lemonade. She froze in place watching the pack of dogs chasing Mrs Prune’s poor cat and Devin chasing the dogs.

Oh No! Devin saw the mailman up ahead. “Watch Out!” Devin yelled, but it was too late. The dogs knocked him off his feet and the mail scattered all over the ground.

Devin felt bad for Mr Gnu, he was a kind mailman, always bringing Devin lollipops and bubble gum. But there was nothing he could do to help him now, for he had to catch Max.

“Hi, Mr Gnu, Bye, Mr Gnu.” Devin yelled, as he passed him picking up all the mail. His face was all red. Devin guessed that he was far from being happy!

The dogs kept running through the neighborhood and they spotted more cats causing some dogs to veer off in different directions. Poor Devin was beginning to feel frantic as he lost sight of Max.

Uh-oh! It was going to happen again. Miss Monika was out with her two dogs and they pulled hard on their leashes to join the other dogs. To Devin’s surprise Miss Monika was able to hold them back. He was impressed.

“Max, Max!” Devin’s voice was growing hoarse.

Whoa!! Poor Mr Geoff was hangjng from the roof! The dogs had knocked the ladder out from underneath him.

Ahh! He saw Max, Devin was almost able to reach him.

Yes! He grabbed his collar, he had Max! Max tried to keep pulling for a little bit but soon gave up. His short legs were tired.

Devin turned around with Max to go back home when he heard someone yell. He turned to look and bust out laughing. Mr Jason the icecream man was on the ground covered in icecream and all the dogs were around him licking it up. Mrs Prune grabbed her frightened cat and the chase was over. All was well.

While walking home Devin thought of all the excitement. Earlier in the morning he had been feeling ennui, rather listless and bored. That all changed the moment he and Max started singing. Ooh, the excitement that happens when you teach a dog to sing.

Pandora’s Wish


Pandora the peacock was quite blue. She never should have opened up the box that had been sealed shut.

Upon noticing that the seal was broken she couldn’t withhold her curiosity any longer. Pandora opened up the box.

Inside was the famous book of amazing peacocks and more. No matter how many times she had flipped through the pages, her portrait wasn’t there. She had even tried wishing upon a star to make her picture appear, but nothing happened.

There were many peacocks in the book who she recognized, but Phoebe was the most amazing one! Paintings of her were divine!

She was famous among all the peacocks. Her portrait and story were on the first page of the special book.

A painting of Phoebe had sold for an astronomical price. Pandora didn’t really understand much about money but she knew humans really valued it. Yet someone admired Phoebe’s painting so much that they thought it was worth a high amount!

Pandora had bever been asked to sit for someone to paint her portrait.

What was even worse is not only did other peacocks have their portrait painted, but other animals as well. Even a panda was in the book! Peyton often teased her, calling her panda.

Her mom thought it waa a sweet nickname and told her that she thought Peyton was attracted to Pandora.

Pandora rolled her eyes whenever her mom hinted at his affections. He wasn’t bad, in fact he was quite good looking, but she didn’t think her mom knew what she was talking about.

Lately though, he had seemed to be extra kind to her. She didn’t know what he had up his sleeve. Maybe he still felt bad about the night at the lake. Pandora couldn’t get that night out of her mind.

They had gone with friends to a lake and were having a wonderful time. Pandora found herself really enjoying being with Peyton.

When their friends left she was hoping he wouldn’t take her home and he didn’t. They sat by the lake and chatted. The moon was reflecting in the water and it was a beautiful, a perfect evening.

While chatting a pause came in the conversation and Peyton told her he would be right back. He disappeared into the dark, making Pandora wonder what was going on.

She was surprised when he returned holding out a small box for her. Her mom had often told her to never open any boxes, but this was Peyton, what could go wrong. She opened it and a tiny frog jumped out, scaring her so badly. Oh, how she yelled at Peyton, as she stomped off, going home without him.

As mad as she was for him messing up a perfect night she realized that he hadn’t laughed when the frog scared her. In fact he hadn’t said a word and he looked upset. But why would he be upset. She was the one who had been scared. Did he really think she would like the frog? Guys were so confusing!

Since that night he had been extra attentive to her. Nothing more was said about Pandora’s box, with the frog. To her surprise she couldn’t deny an affection possibly growing for Peyton.

Her face started growing warm. She shook her head, and brought her mind back to the present problem. A panda had made it into the special book, but not her! How fair was that?


Sure, it was adorably cute, but…Oooh, Pandora felt herself growing green with envy.

Slamming the book shut she decided to listen to her mom and never open a box again. They held nothing but trouble.

Time passed and Pandora had forgotten all about the book. She had more important things on her mind now.

Peyton had become much more than a friend to Pandora. They went out quite often together now and Pandora was flying high. Her mom was thrilled, though she said that Pandora acted like a flibbertygibbet now, with her head in the clouds.

Before she knew it her wedding day arrived and it was a day her dreams came alive. Peyton had surprised her by arranging for Pedro the artist to be at their wedding. He painted Pandora in all her splendour as a beautiful bride.

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She would at last have her picture in the book. While she beamed with happiness, she knew that the most important thing to her now was Peyton. He gave her a joy that couldn’t compare with having her portrait in a book.

On the other side of the world, late one night, poor Pongo couldn’t sleep. Why wasn’t his portrait in the famous book. He was special, he could dance.

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The Many Faces

Thanks once again to Jason, (the not-yet-World Famous photographer) for this photo. See more of his photography adventures at

Laura’s nerves were on edge. She was wound as tight as a ball of string, feeling that the slightest thing would cause her to unravel.

What had she done? She washed her hands down by the river repeatedly but they still didn’t feel clean. Would they ever be clean again?

The breeze blew across her face and a turkey vulture flew by. Thinking of vultures made her feel queasy. She wiped sweat from her brow. She waa burning up, but it had nothing to do with the weather.

What would she do now? She couldn’t return, not that she had anything to return to anyway. Her mama had died and she had never met her dad.

Laura kept running, making one foot go in front of another. Tears burned her eyes. She couldn’t stop thinking of him. He may not have been tall, dark and handsome, but he had stolen her heart.

One look from his honey brown eyes and one could see the depths of compassion that they held.

The times they spent togetber had made her feel as rich as a fairy tale princess. Life with him made her forget feeling lost and alone. He had promised that he would build a life for them. Oh, the many promises he had made. He only needed to finish college and then they would be together forever. She had held onto that promise to get her through the lonely nights.

Another tear ran down her scraped cheek. The bleeding had stopped, but it still burned. She continued running.

Memories flashed through her mind. She would see Joel’s happy face and then it would transform and give her the shivers. Transforming into the other guy. The one whose eyes were hard and cold.

Oh, what was this? She never had wandered into the mountains before. Now she stopped in her tracks as she looked ahead of her. Was she becoming delirious or did the mountain ahead of her really have haunting faces in it?

Her legs began to wobble. The adrenalin which had pushed her to keep running was fading. Laura sat down, before her legs gave out on her.

How she wished that Joel was near. She needed to feel safe in his arms once again. If this was a Hallmark movie, he would appear. He would be tall, dark, handsome and honest. He would have picked up her trail and followed her, ready to rescue her from this nightmare.

But this wasn’t a Hallmark movie and she was exhausted, sitting by a haunted mountain. Putting her head between her knees, a heavy sigh escaped her.

The faces flashed in her mind once more. The charming smile of Joel, the guy she had trusted. The guy she thought she had known.

Then his charming smile mocked her, turning into a sneer. His compassionate eyes were as hard as steel. Right before they widened in fear, as he fell backwards off of the cliff.

Another vulture flew overhead, she wondered if the vultures had found his body yet.

A Colorful Tale

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The day was warm and Eeyore was feeling sleepy. “Now you stay here, I promise I will be back.”

Eva planted a small kiss upon his nose and he watched her walk away. Immediately he began feeling sad. “Now what do I do? It will probably start raining soon. Oh Bother!”

Eeyore sat on the bench for awhile waiting for Eva to come back. He was getting tired of waiting, though he usually was really good at showing patience. It wasn’t like he had anything to look forward too, he told himself.

The sun was still shining, for now, Eeyore was sure that he saw a storm cloud in the distance. He watched the sky, waiting for the thunderstorm, as he continued waiting on Eva.

Time passed his eyes grew heavy, making them impossible to keep open any longer.

Where was he? He was still on the bench but everything was different. This wasn’t where Eva had left him and it did not look like the Hundred Acre Wood. Eva sometimes took him to new places with her, but now she was nowhere to be found.

Wherever this place was, it was pretty dull. Never had he seen such dreary flowers. Where had all the colors gone?

Was that Christopher Robin walking down the road? What was he doing out of the hundred acre wood? Eeyore’s eyes grew bigger as the boy walked along tbe road, towards him. Poor Eeyore was stuck on the bench. Eva had told him not to move and he always did what he was told.

He sighed, Christopher Robin would probably walk right by him, not seeing him. Eeyore blended in with the gray road and colorless flowers. There was nothing making him stand out. “I am dull.’ He stated. “Always was, always will be.” Then he looked at the sky, “It still looks like rain,”

The boy drew closer and Eeyore realized it wasn’t Christopher Robin after all, but who was it?

Turning his head to the side, Eeyore wondered what the boy was doing as he knelt down beside some flowers. In no time at all the flowers shined bright. Color had tinged their cheeks. The little boy was touching them with a brush. It must be a magic brush.

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Eeyore started to wonder what would happen if the magic brush touched him.

The little boy stood up and got a big smile on his face, seeing Eeyore.

“Hi Eeyore! I can’t believe I found you.”

“I didn’t know I was lost.” replied Eeyore.

The little boy laughed. “You are looking sad. Is there anything I can do to help?”

“Probably not. There never is. I think a tornado is going to come.”

Some people would give up after hearing Eeyore’s response, but Shane persisted. He wouldn’t give up on his friend.

Just then Eeyore’s tail fell off and dropped onto Shane’s painting easel.

Shane laughed! “Your tail has paint all over it!’ He picked it up and showed it to Eeyore.

“Ahh! You are smiling! Hang on and I will put your tail back on.”

Eeyore felt happy. He had a colorful tail. What would Christopher Robin and all his friends think?

“There you go, your colorful tail is back on.”

“Thank you,” said Eeyore, “But, it will fall off again, it always does.” He sighed, but one could still see the hint of a smile on his face.

Little Shane was feeling quite proud of himself. Not only had he made flowers smile but he made Eeyore smile! Who would have ever guessed that Shane would have the opportunity to meet Eeyore and make him smile. Sometimes surprises really were down the road. All you had to do was keep walking.

Happy Flowers!

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What a fun day it had been for Shane. He had blown bubbles while running among the wildflowers. Tried to catch butterflies, giggling when one had landed on bis nose and now he was playing in the creek.

“Mommy, Mommy, guess what!”

Shane ran over to his mom, who was getting their picnic ready. “I caught a ..” Ker-plop! The frog landed right in the middle of the whipcream container.

Shane couldn’t believe it! He couldn’t tell if his mommy was mad, for she didn’t say anything at first. But he couldn’t hold back the giggles. The frog looked quite funny with whipcream all over him. When Shane heard his mommy laughing, he knew that all would be ok. She was shaking her head, with her hands up in the air.

Ker-plop! The frog jumped up on his mommy’s head. She shrieked and Shane knew she wasn’t happy now. The frog better hop away fast! As if the frog could read Shane’s mind he started hopping away.

Shane wasn’t sure what to say to his mommy. He was glad though that this time her mad look was directed at the frog and not him. He usually had a hard enough time staying out of trouble, but today he had been doing well!

Fortunately his mommy wasn’t mad long at the frog, before she was smiling again. His mommy had the prettiest smile, because she was the bestest mommy.

They ate yummy PBJ sandwiches and pie, minus the whipcream. Plus his favorite chips, Doritos.

Shane started feeling sleepy. His mommy had him stretch out on the blanket, with his head in her lap. He yawned. This time he wouldn’t need to count sheep, which was good because he couldn’t count too high. His friend Timmy usually got all the gold stars in math class, but Shane was determined to keep trying. He would get them some day! Soon Shane was fast asleep.

Where was he? He was walking along a road, but where was his mommy? He wasn’t supposed to go for walks without her, but maybe she would be at the end of the road. He would walk along the side since he wasn’t old enough yet to cross the road on his own.

Something was wrong. It bothered him. What had happened to the flowers? Where were all the pretty colors?

These flowers looked sad and Shane didn’t like for anyone or anything to be sad. He wondered what he could do to cheer them up?

His face brightened as he saw a white bunny hopping towards him. Maybe it was the Easter Bunny?

“Stop, stop. I have to ask you a question.” Shane put up his hands and the bunny slowed down but didn’t stop.

“I am late, I am late , for a very important date.”

The bunny kept hopping and soon to Shane’s dismay he was out of sight.

Shane kept walking, hoping to find his mommy. It didn’t take long for his little legs to tire out. He still hadn’t found his mommy and the colorless flowers were making him sad. What was he going to do?

Oh, what was that? Shane began to feel excited. There were all kinds of colors of paint. He wondered who left it and he wanted to use the paint. But, there wasn’t any paper to paint on. Frowning a little, he tried to think of what he could paint.

Shane was having a blast. He was bringing color to the wildflowers. They were happy flowers now! His monmy was going to be so proud of him, he thought, as he dipped the brush into more paint. There were still many flowers waiting for their turn to shine.

The Surprise Guest

Painting by Daniel Gerhartz

Silence, really was golden. Only the sounds of nature for her to hear out here. It was what she needed. Tabitha knew she would be missed, but hoped that it would take a little while.

There was close to a hundred people at the party. Would they really miss her? She shouldn’t have run off, but her head was spinning from the noise and expectations of everyone. It was either run away or stay and faint. Having never fainted before she really didn’t wish to start. Especially in the middle of a party.

Coming to the creek was calming her down already. It always did.

She was so glad to have the mini lantern with her. Not that she was looking for anything in particular, but it was fun to use.

Sitting there she wished that she could stay but Tabitha knew that she had to go back before anyone missed her.

Standing up she turned around to head back and froze. Guilt was all over her red face.

“I see they sent out the search party.”

James shook his head, “Nope, only me. But if I don’t get you back soon, the search party will begin! I reckon we have about 15 minutes to spare, so you want to tell old James why you are out here?”

He put his arm around her shoulders, kindness radiating from his eyes.

Tabitha loved James. He had been the family chauffeur forever. Since she had been a toddler! Oh, the stories he could tell about her and what fun they had through the years. He had become much more than a chauffeur, he was a true friend, a confidante.

“J needed to get out of there James. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. So many people and …” her voice trailed off, lost in her thoughts. She had only wanted one special guy there, and she hadn’t seen him.

“You thought you would disappear and noone would notice?”

She shrugged, “not right away …”

He gave her head a tap with his hand. “Use your noggin girl, God gave it to you for a reason. How do you think you can disappear when you are the guest of honor!” His voice raised a little louder at the end.

“Kind of dumb, eh?” She said, with a sheepish grin.

“No “kind of” about it!”

She made a face at him, causing him to laugh out loud.

“I didn’t want a big party and you know how embarrassing it is, to have the guest list mostly composed of single guys! Mom acts like I am turning 18 and going on 70, destined to be an old maid. ” She rolled her dark brown eyes.

“Yeah, your mama is crazy.”

“Yes, she is, thank you!”

“I mean to think that she sent a special invitation to Hudson and that he arrived late, traveling all those miles ….”

Tabitha’s eyes about bulged out of her head in shock! “Hudson! She invited Hudson!”

“”She sure did, crazy, right?”

Tabitha felt her pulse racing. Hudson had been her best friend through her childhood. When he moved far away their Junior year of HS, he took her heart with him. Now he had come back, she couldn’t believe it!

They had kept in touch with texts and emails but oh, how she missed him! She didn’t find herself interested in other guys, for no one measured up to him. But with the distance they were afraid to start anything. But now???

“We have to get back, Pronto!” She took off and James watched her with mild amusement. He let her go a little bit and then yelled. “You may want to turn around and go the right direction.”

She stopped in her tracks, turned around and ran.

James shook his head, he worried about anyone stepping into her path. She may plow them down. There isn’t any stopping a woman in love.

A Spider’s Magic

Painting by Morgan Weistling

What was that sound? Christina looked down. Oh No! She had been daydreaming again and now the sewing machine was jammed. Ugh! Mary would not be happy if she did not have this dress finished for her by five o’clock. A quick glance at the clock on the wall and her heart sank. It was 4:45 right now! There was no way she would finish it in fifteen minutes!

The door to her shop opened. Christina inwardly groaned as Mary stepped in. She was always punctual, unfortunately.

“Good evening! Is my dress ready? What’s wrong? You have bad news written all over your face, girl! Oh dear, did something happen to my dress? Whatever will I wear to…EEK!

Mary screamed as a big, black, hairy spider ran across her perfectly pink manicured toes.

A scream was caught in Christina’s throat too. She hated spiders, but didn’t want to show her panic in front of Mary. Though it looked like she didn’t have to worry about that. Mary was running for the door. “I will be back tomorrow!”

She left the door standing open and Christina was glad to see the creepy spider run out of the door. The aroma of lilacs blew in with the gentle Spring breeze. Christina smiled, the lilacs smelled wonderful, but she quickly shut the door. Didn’t want her uninvited fuzzy spider coming back in.

She rubbed her arms feeling the chills, thinking about the spider, but laughed at the same time. The spider had saved her day!

Looking at the ball of knotted thread on Mary’s dress, she was so relieved that she had until tomorrow to finish it. She still had to add many sequins to it. Mary wanted her dress to sparkle for the garden party she was having at her estate.

It had been a big project making this special dress, but the money she would get for it was worth it. She wouldn’t have to worry about rent this month. Plus if Mary was satisfied with her work she promised to spread the news to her friends. That would be a great boost to Christina’s business.

Turning the sign to close, she set to work on finishing Mary’s dress. It had to be perfect.

Christina’s neck was aching, bent over putting the sequins on Mary’s dress. The money may be worth it, but her neck was complaining. She still had the fine lace to put on around the edges.

Time passed slowly. Christina was fighting sleep and hunger. When she was finished she would treat herself to Mike’s fresh crab cakes. Would be pleasant to sit by the water and enjoy them. A half hour later she put on the last sequin and her cramped fingers were so grateful to be done!

Looking at the clock she decided to take a break now for crab cakes. Her stomach was growling and maybe Mike would be able to take a short break with her. Thoughts of him made her smile, warming her heart. He was on her mind more and more lately. Thats why she had been lost in a daydream earlier.

Closing up the shop she walked the two blocks to his restaurant enjoying the warm evening. This was the perfect, little seaside town. Her slice of paradise.

Mike’s Crab Shack wasn’t too busy. The dinner crowd had mostly left, as it was later in the evening now. He greeted Christina, looking genuinely pleased to see her.

“Good evening, my lady.” He made a little bow, giving her a wink.

Christina laughed, “Acting all formal tonight, I see. Where is your suit and tie?” She teased.

“One never knows, maybe I will wear it tomorrow?” She laughed thinking of him all dressed up standing behind the counter of his little shack on the deck. It was a small place but popular. Everyone knew he had the best crab cakes around.

Christina took her last bite, the crab cakes had hit the spot. Mike had been sitting with her earlier, their conversation had flowed easily. Looking up, she was happy to see him heading her way.

“How would you like to take a little walk along the water? It won’t take me long to close up.”

“Sounds great!” She hoped he didn’t hear how loud her heart was beating. All thoughts of the unfinished dress went out the window.

Christina felt like she was glowing as they walked. A delightful way to end her day.

They shared stories back and forth getting to know each other a little more. Mike had shared a touching story about his dear grandmother. Her opinion of him was rising, as he revealed a tender heart, when it came to his grandmother.

After talking they walked in comfortable silence for a bit listening to the water. Neither of them feeling in a hurry to leave.

The night was simple, but one of the best night’s Christina had in awhile. When they said goodnight, she hadn’t wanted to let go of his hand. Almost felt like she was breaking the spell of the magical evening. She was feeling so good, that she felt like she could float back to her shop.

Opening the door to her shop the dress was lying by the sewing machine, waiting for her. It was late but she wasn’t tired. Picking up the dress she … EEK! A spider ran off of it and scurried away. Christina rubbed her arms, feeling the heebie jeebies again! What was it with spiders all of a sudden being in her shop?

Picking up the dress a little more cautiously this time she took a look and … What had happened?? There was silk lace all around the edges of the dress already! How? She was confused. The silk was weaved in such an intricate way. The spider? Spiders weave webs, but … c’mon Christina, this isn’t a fairy tale, she told herself.

Perhaps her friend and assistant, Jody had stopped by to help her out. Jody knew she had been stressed about doing a perfect job on the dress. That would explain things. She would have to thank her. Now she needed to close the shop and go home to get some sleep.

Stepping outside to walk home she enjoyed the light of the full moon. It was like there was a touch of magic in the air.

When Magic Happens!

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Once upon a time in a far off land there lived a golden hair princess. The girl was a beauty and was known to turn the head of every guy in the kingdom.

Taken in by her radiant beauty made guys quick to want to be her shining knight. That is until they learned the one thing that the king couldn’t hide.

When the golden hair princess opened her mouth, one would be forced to cover their ears. Her shrill voice caused glass to shatter! No matter how she tried to lower it nothing would work. They were constantly replacing the glass windows of the castle and glassware was no longer used.

The King loved his daughter, Sarabella,so much and his heart hurt for her as she withdrew more and more inside herself. As the years passed, her golden smile dimmed and her suitors became less and less. Word had spread about the princess with the shrill voice. She began to resign herself to the fate of never being betrothed.

Her mother, the Queen, fretted and ranted. Surely there had to be something that could be done. Sarabella was their only daughter, Their golden haired princess. They wanted her to be happy and carefree, to be able to open her mouth without being afraid.

A day when the clouds were hiding the sun, the King rode off on his white steed. No one knew where he had gone. He hadn’t even breathed a word to his most trusted servant. All wondered at his sudden departure.

Many miles did the royal steed travel and with each mile that drew the King closer to his destination, hope grew. This had to work, the King knew of no other way.

When he saw the crepe myrtles lining the path he knew he had arrived.

Sure enougb, there the old man was, up ahead, talking to the one tree. The King respectfully called out to him and the man turned around.

“Hello! I have been waiting for you.” The man said.

The King felt like he should bow in this man’s presence. He was known as the Crazy man, but no one denied that he had magic powers.

“Goodbye, my children.” The old man started calling out their names, and the King didn’t know who was crazier. The old man, for naming his crepe myrtles or him for believing he could work some magic on Sarabella.

As he called out the last name, he turned towards the King. “Now we can go in.”

The King dismounted and proceeded to follow the old man up the hill, to his home. When they walked up to his front door the King was shocked to see an armadillo on each side of the door. The rumors were true. Some had guard dogs, but the old man had guard armadillos.

Did he have names for them, as well, wondered the King.

His question was answered as the odd man, spoke out loud. “We have company, Armando and Dillion, the King is here. The armadillos didn’t move, the King wondered if they were stuffed, but thought it best if he didn’t question the odd,old man.

They entered the house and sat down at the table. A pot of coffee was on the table, with two mugs. As the old man had said before. He had been expecting the King. That was part of his magical powers, or was it that he always had an extra cup on the table, ready for company?

The kingdom was divided over how many thought he did have magical powers and how many believed him to simply be delusional. After all he did name his trees.

The King hoped that his magical powers were real and wasted no time in explaining the reason for his visit.

“I come to you, in person, pleading to help my daughter, Princess Sarabella. Can you give her a normal voice? One that doesn’t break one’s eardrums and shatter glasses. I will reward you with anything you want if you can fulfill my request?”

The odd,old man didn’t say a word. He sipped his coffee, as the King waited. The King refrained from drinking the coffee. He had heard others tell how bitter the coffee was. Some thought it to be the magic potion, with bitter herbs, that the old man drinks. That maybe that was where his power came from. If that was true the King was ready to pour him another cup. But after he drank his first cup, he spoke. “Your request has been granted.”

The King was shocked! Was it really that simple? He drinks the magic potion and Poof! Wishes granted!

“I thank you with all my heart. Tell me, what reward can I give you? Anything, just say it and it is yours. You have my word.”

Once again the old man was silent. The King waited, and then with his four remaining teeth in his mouth he spoke. “I will follow you back to your castle and then tell you what I desire.”

This made the King slightly uncomfortable. Everyone would know he had come seeking out the old man’s help, but so be it. His daughter was cured and he couldn’t be happier. That was all that mattered.

They left right away. The old man rode the royal steed as the King walked ahead. When passing the crepe myrtles the old man said bye to each one, calling them once more by name.

A smile came to the King’s face. It was rather sweet. Him naming them. They were the prettiest crepe myrtles he had ever seen. Maybe they liked having names and that made them bloom.

The King was so glad to finally see his castle up abead. His legs were growing very tired!

Something was amidst as tbey approached the castle. The King heard the most beautiful singing and his servants seemed to be so excited. Then he spotted them. His wife and daughter walking in the gardens. As he got closer he realized that it was his sweet Sarabella singing!

Tears sprung to his eyes and he ran towards them. They all embraced, talking at once, with great joy!

The old man hung back taking it all in, not saying a word.

Then the King remembered. “I have someone for you to meet. He is the one who cured your voice, my sweet Sarabella.”

Sarabella and her mom looked in astonishment at the old man. They had never believed the rumors about his magic powers, but now there was no denying it.

Impulsively Sarabella threw her arms around him in a warm embrace. “Thank you so much! You changed my life!”

Her mom chimed in, “Yes, how can we ever thank you?”

“I have already told him that he can have anything he wants. All he needs to do is name it.”

The Queen smiled at her husband, “Good, good! You reward him and Sarabella and I will start planning for her special Ball.”

The Queen and daughter couldn’t hide their delight in imagining all the young men that would be sure to come. Sarabella was talking a mile a minute now, as they made their way back into the castle.

Feeling fantastic that all had worked out the king looked at the old man, and asked again. “What do you wish as your reward. Just name it and it will be.”

The old man looked directly into the King’s eyes, “Sarabella’, he said.

Fear shot through the King’s eyes. Surely he had heard wrong. “Sarabella went back to the castle, tell me, what do you wish as your reward?”

His answer made the King’s blood run cold, “Sarabella”.

There was much weeping that night, but what was the King to do. He couldn’t go back on his word. The King’s word was gold.

He was so proud of Sarabella the next day. She was so strong as they prepared for the wedding. This was not how it was supposed to be, it was so solemn, instead of a glorious affair.

“Now you may kiss the bride.”

Princess Sarabella looked into her husband’s eyes and was glad to see kindness there. He was waiting. He may not be the man of her dreams, but he would be kind. She could tell. With courage and a burst of gratitude for what he had done for her, she kissed him.

Everyone gasped at the transformation before them. The old man was young and had all his teeth. In fact he was the most handsome guy that Sarabella had ever seen. She ran her fingers through his thick, wavy, luxurious hair.

There was singing, dancing and feasting long into the night. The King was so happy that he had kept his word. He had passed the test!

Princess Sarabella’s husband was turning out to be quite the gentleman. Easygoing, caring and very much in love with Sarabella. His eyes shined like the stars when he looked at her. He promised to treat her well. It was a perfect match.

Okay, maybe the King had noticed him talking to some of the trees while his daughter was talking to her mom, but … if he wanted to name the King’s trees, so be it. No harm done.

The clock struck midnight and all was well. Princess Sarabella had a sweet voice and was married to a man who may be a tad on the crazy side, but he loved her, and they lived happily ever after! The End