2014 _ Fairy Tale Competition Entry
Grimswald and Ozdyke had lived in Toadstool Hollow for as long as anyone could remember. The two brothers were famous throughout the forest, for each year they would take home all the medals at the Butterfly Bronco Rodeo. They lived in a two-storey mushroom on the edge of their village. Their house was small, but they knew to be patient while it grew. One day it would fit just right…
Grimswald and Ozdyke had lived in Toadstool Hollow for as long as anyone could remember. The two brothers were famous throughout the forest, for each year they would take home all the medals at the Butterfly Bronco Rodeo. They lived in a two-storey mushroom on the edge of their village. Their house was small, but they knew to be patient while it grew. One day it would fit just right.
One morning Ozdyke went out to feed the Buck Moth caterpillars. The prickly pair of larvae were destined to perform in this year’s rodeo, and the brothers were keeping them well fed and watered so they could grow big and strong. But that particular morning the water barrel was empty, and so Ozdyke called to his brother, “Grimswald! Come help fill the barrel from the well. It’s gone empty!” Ozdyke was the worrying sort, and he was nervous that if they left the caterpillars without water for even a minute, their chances at winning the rodeo would be over.
Grimswald heard the request, and came bumbling out of the house. He was a grumpy man at the best of times, and filling the barrel was his least favourite chore. Together, the brothers could have the barrel filled in no time at all, but Grimswald was sure to grumble all the while. But when they dropped their bucket down the well, they heard no splash at the bottom. They tugged at the rope to pull it up, and found it was bone dry. “How very strange…” mumbled Ozdyke, “whatever ever shall we do?”
And before an idea could escape his lips, a voice began to croak loudly, “the well have gone dry! Rrrrrribbit… And it will stay dry! Rrrrrrribbit.” The brothers looked down to see a toad sitting on the edge of the well.
“Who do you think you are?!” demanded Grimswald angrily.
“I am the Untimely Toad, and I have emptied your well to quench my thirst” croaked the toad.
“But we drink from this well,” explained Ozdyke politely, “it is our only way to fetch water without taking the day’s journey to the babbling brook.” The babbling brook was not far away, but when one visited the brook, it would babble your whole day away, and it was impossible to get a word in edgewise.
“This is terrible!” grumbled Griswald, “Now what will we do?”
“If you want your well filled, you best go and fetch me some time flies,” replied the Untimely Toad. And without another ribbit, he hopped off into the woods.
And so, grumpy Grimswald and anxious Ozdyke saddled their trusty caterpillars and set off in search of time flies. They rode into the village and asked if anyone knew where to find time flies to bring to the terrible Toad. But no one had ever heard of time flies, nor the Untimely Toad, and so the brothers moved on. They ascended out of the valley to the edge of the forest, around the Marsh Mallow Marsh, and carefully navigated the Thick Thicket. As they rode along, they asked all those whom they passed if they had seen any time flies, and no one had.
The brothers travelled day and night, throughout the lands, propelled onwards by Ozdyke’s urgency, and slowed by Grimswald’s misgivings. When the two reached the edge of the woods, they stopped in their tracks, terrified. Before them lay a great open plain, stretching out as far as the eye could see until it disappeared into clouds of dust at the horizon.
Grimswald was fuming, he wanted nothing more than to turn back that instant. “This is useless!” He shouted. “There are no such thing as time flies. They cannot exist, for anyone we’ve asked has heard nothing of them. We’ve been duped by that hideous toad, and I won’t have any more of it. We must go home!”
“Senseless!” shouted Ozdyke in return. “Senseless! We have no choice but to continue on. We simply must find the time flies so our well can be refilled!”
The brothers sat and bickered as to whether they should go on or turn back. They bickered so long and hard that while they argued, they hadn’t the foggiest notion that their trusty steeds had plans of their own. For they had travelled so long that it was time for the caterpillars to make their cocoons.
Before they knew it, the brothers were left with no choice at all. They were so far from home that they had no chance of making the return journey on foot. And so with their last shreds of hope at finding the time flies, the brothers set off into the great open desert.
Grimswald and Ozdyke arrived in the Radiant City as the sun began to set beyond the western mountains. They were parched, exhausted, and perplexed. They had caught sight of something on the horizon not long after they left the forest. Now that they had arrived, they could not believe their eyes! Out in the midst of the great expansive plain was a riotous party. Games and merriment were erupting all around them–it was utter chaos.
They knew that they had found something special, and they were certain that this was where the time flies must be. So the brothers began to madly rush around asking where the time flies were. But after circling the camps and statues and all the fun and games time and time again, they could find no one who had heard of the time flies.
The brothers were devasated, and wandered off together to find a quiet spot to hide their tears.
The brothers settled down inside a quiet empty, and rather enormous structure. There was no one around, and so they sat quietly sobbing to themselves.
They were so far from home, from their friends, from their catepillars, and what was worse, they still had not found the time flies, and so they would have no water to return to at home. There was no chance they’d be winning the rodeo this year. Everything was ruined. In a moment of sorrow, Ozdyke pulled out their registration papers for the rodeo, and burned them on what seemed to be a small alter. It felt terrible to say goodbye. Everything they lived for was lost.
The brothers cried themselves to sleep. While they slept, the brothers had strange, vivid dreams. They dreamed they were surrounded by bright shiny flies, swirling and dancing over their heads. It was unbelievable, it filled them with so much joy! They had finally found the flies…
And then they awoke on the cold hard ground, and began to sob some more. But they sobbed so loud that someone heard them, and came in to cheer them up. It was a small bunny who couldn’t bear to see people cry. So he insisted that they join him and his friends for some tea and fun. The brothers resisted, but what else did they have to lose?
Sitting with their new friends, Grimswald and Ozdyke couldn’t keep their sour moods for too long. The jokes were so funny, they had sweet snacks and tasty drinks, it was beautiful weather, and there were oh so many toys and games all around! Before they knew it, Grimswald and Ozdyke were having a grand old time, laughing and smiling like never before.
Over the sound of their laughter, the brothers heard a great sound of flapping wings, and looked up to see a pair of strong beautiful moths sitting outside the tent.
“Incredible!” shouted the brothers. “Could this be our caterpillars? Have they completed their metamorphosis already? My oh my, time flies when you’re having fun…”
Grimswald stared at Ozdyke as the words came to a halt. “Of course! Having fun! That’s where the time flies were all along! Quick, let’s get back to the woods and have a word with that toad…”
When the brothers reached their home in the woods, they found the seasonal rains had showered down on the land all the while they’d been gone. It was simply patience they’d needed to wait for the well to fill. Perhaps next year, they’d ration their supplies more wisely, and avoid any advice from strange toads.
Griswald and Ozdyke’s adventures were an exploration of Fairy Tale architecture for the Blank Spaces Fairy Tale competition.