Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Wicked What

The Wicked What

A bed-time story for Sophie

© 2016, Anthony Kosky

Once upon a time there was a Wicked What.

Now a Wicked What is a bit like a Wicked Which only even more more wicked and unpleasant.

In fact, this Wicked What was especially bad because she hated it when people mistook her for a Wicked Which. She would travel around the magical kingdom where she lived, and whenever she met someone who would say “Excuse me but are you a Which,” she would turn them into a Newt. Or, if they were already a Newt, she would turn them into an Artichoke, or something even worse.

And wherever she went, she would cast spells to make people grow warts on the end of their noses. Or, for those who already had warts, she would cast spells to make them grow noses on the end of their warts. Either way, it was very Wicked and made people very unhappy.

Now one day she was walking through a forest (as her broomstick was being repaired) when she came to a bridge crossing a shallow stream. Just as she started to cross the bridge an Ugly, Hairy Troll jumped out from underneath and bared her way.

“Who dares to cross my bridge?” said the Ugly, Hairy Troll.

“Out of my way,” said the Wicked What, “or I shall turn you into a troll.”

The Ugly, Hairy Troll gave her an ugly, hairy smile. “I’m already a troll,” he said.

“Very well then,” said the Wicked What, “I’ll turn you into a Handsome Prince,” and she took her wand from her pocket and zapped him.

The troll, who was now a Handsome Prince, looked at his reflection in the stream and screamed. “Waaaaah,” he wailed. “How can I go back to my Ugly, Hairy Troll Wife, and my Ugly, Hairy Troll Children. They’ll scream when they see how un-ugly I’ve become.” And he ran into the forest crying and gnashing his perfect, white teeth together.

Now, a little way away, in the forest there was a clearing, and in that clearing a beautiful Princess was having a picnic. She was singing cheery songs to the birds and little woodland creatures, and eating dainty cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches.

Suddenly the Troll stumbled into the clearing. “Oh, a Handsome Prince,” thought the Princess. “Would you like to join my picnic?” she asked politely.

The Troll (or Handsome Prince) looked startled, but by then he was very hungry so he approached the Princess’ picnic blanket warily and sat down. Of course, though he looked like a handsome prince, he still had the table manners of a troll. So, pretty soon, he was shoveling the cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches into his mouth with both hands at once and chewing noisily with his mouth wide open. Then, when there were no more sandwiches left, he took the elegant cup of tea that the Princess had kindly poured for him, emptied the entire contents of the sugar bowl into the cup, drank it down in a single gulp, and let out a large and exceptionally smelly burp.

“You do seem a little unusual for a prince,” said the Princess politely.

“I’m a troll,” grunted the Troll.

“You don’t look like a troll,” said the Princess. “Though you do rather act like one,” she conceded.

The Troll explained sadly how he’d been transformed.

“It must be that Wicked What causing mischief again,” said the Princess thoughtfully. “I’ve heard about her. I think it’s time to teach her a lesson.” And she set off into the forest looking for the Wicked What.

She spotted her a short while later, trudging along the path through the forest and muttering wicked things to herself. The princes ran ahead and then stepped onto the path in front of the Wicked What just as she rounded a corner.

“Excuse me,” said the princess in her most innocent voice, “but are you a Which?”

“I’m not a Which, I’m a What,” shrieked the Wicked What, “and I’ll turn you into a Newt!”

But, just as the Wicked What drew her wand and sent a blue-green spell fizzling towards the Princess, the Princess took a mirror from behind her back. The spell bounced off the mirror and hit the Wicked What square on the chin.

A bewildered Newt lay on the ground at the Princess’ feet. Before it could collect its thoughts and run away, the Princess picked it up by the tail and dangled it in front of her face. “Oh no,” said the dismayed Newt. “Serves you right,” said the Princess.

“Now,” continued the Princess, “I happen to have with me a de-newting spray from the royal wizard. I might turn you back into a What, if you promise to turn this poor Handsome Prince back into a troll and then leave my kingdom and never bother us again.”

“Or,” said the Princess in a menacing voice, “I could just sit on you.”

The Newt gulped, and promised to do as it was told.

“Pinky promise?” asked the Princess. The Newt nodded again.

So the  Princess took a small aerosol can from her purse. She sprayed the Newt from its nose to the tip of its tail, and took a step backwards. After a few seconds there was a soft hissing noise and the Newt seemed to unfold into a rather sorry-looking What.

The What muttered a spell pointed her wand at the Handsome Prince who had just come out from hiding behind a tree. With a puff of smoke, the Prince transformed back into an Ugly, Hairy Troll.

The Ugly, Hairy Troll was so happy to be returned to his normal form that he tried to give the Princess a hug and a big, slobbery kiss, but she declined politely and the troll of ran off dancing and singing happily to himself.

Then the What reluctantly handed her wand over the princess, shuffled away in a subdued manner, and was never seen again.