A Story for Katydid – Chapter Four

(I wrote a little story for fun for a little girl who is 2 going on 3, the daughter of friends of mine. I used mutual Facebook friends and their pets, as characters in the story, with everyone’s permission. I tried to incorporate some personal hobbies from each person too, and made photo-shopped images for my friend’s daughter to enjoy. Please excuse my glaring grammar errors, this was totally for the entertainment of a very beautiful child. I will post one chapter per day here!)

Originally posted on Facebook here:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/will-appleby/a-story-for-katydid/528070973871185

4. Chapter Four 12-26-12

General Buonaparte and his small group of highly trained troops found the witch’s hovel in the woods very empty. A search in the shack indicated a hasty departure, and the note from Joey was found on the rickety table. Exasperated that the Royal Cats decided to take on the Great Dragon, General Buonaparte dispatched his Aide De Camp, Pasta, back to the castle to brief the Princesses. He then rallied his team, and began leading them at a full gallop to the dragon’s lair. Everyone knew where the dragon’s lair was, but no one had seen it for years and years, and no one really cared anymore.

Being half a day and leagues ahead of the General, the witch and the Royal Cats were approaching the Great Dragon’s lair. The air was thick with the scent of sulfur. As they walked through the edge of the woods, the trees thinned and became sickly looking. Then a field, no longer lush, green and beautiful….but rather, choked full of half-dead weeds, lay between them and the lair at the base of the mountain. They all stared at the gaping cave entrance, all was pitch black beyond it.

Wee Russ began to holler at the dragon, baiting him to come out. “Meow meow! I am so wee but I am smarter than you, great lazy good for nothing worm! Squeak squeak! Plus, I am much handsomer!”While Russ engaged Apathy the Great Dragon in this provoking conversation, Joey and Woody flanked the cave entrance, taking their meatball guns with them, and took up positions that would put the dragon in cross-fire once he emerged from the cave.The witch took a magical cauldron out of her magic bag. Inside the bag it was so tiny! When she set it on the ground, it grew larger and larger until it looked like any other normal witch’s cauldron. It even started it’s own fire underneath, and soon the water was bubbly and steaming. The Royal Cats had regaled her with many stories about themselves as they walked to the dragon’s lair. They had informed her that they were well-versed in defensive arts as all Royal Cats should be. While this was not a well-known fact among the people of the kingdom, everyone in the castle knew. The Princesses had felt this was a necessary thing, preparing for all the what if’s and just in case’s the future might bring. The General also knew, which probably explained his exasperation. He held the opinion that having the training doesn’t mean one should invite possible disaster upon one’s self! He also knew the Royal Cats feared nothing.

So there in the middle of that wasted field, Quincy, Russ and little Sheldon donned their magic making hats and began to add special herbs and roots to the rolling water in the cauldron. They began to purr and purr and purr. The witch stood next to them, her wand at the ready position, waiting for just the right time. She was afraid and the tremor in her hand made the wand wiggle a little. Quincy told her to be brave and purred at her, and the witch took a deep cleansing breath and steadied her hand.

Wee Russ, this whole time, had continued to also provoke the Great Dragon, shouting out insults and questioning his lineage. This angered Apathy and wounded his twisted self-esteem. Russ began to belt out simple truths that Apathy could not bear to listen to. That Apathy was nothing, NOTHING were it not for being fed by the masses, that he did nothing of his own accord. It took a whole population that no longer cared about good and right in the world, it took a world where no one cared about anyone but themselves and did nothing unless it benefited themselves. It took the fears of people who were now paralyzed to do any good because it just didn’t matter. Apathy had become a great gluttonous lazy brute on this diet of impassivity by a people that could no longer feel the slightest bit of care for others.

Hot smoke and flame curled out from the lair’s entrance and great lumbering footsteps echoed out. Joey and Woody readied themselves from their positions on either side of the cave. THE DRAGON CAME OUT! He was very large and very blue and very angry! He was going to get Wee Russ! Apathy locked eyes with Wee Russ who promptly giggled out loud. Eyebrows drawn quizzically, the dragon felt confused by Wee Russ’s laughter, and in this moment Joey shot him right in the face with a big juicy meatball! At first stunned, Apathy was soon overcome by the aroma and taste of gourmet meatballs. Everyone knew that Apathy could not grow if not fed, so this is how Joey and Woody kept Apathy distracted. Volleys of gourmet meatballs kept Apathy quite busy.

Meanwhile, Quincy, Wee Russ and Little Sheldon stirred the cauldron and purred louder and louder. Purr Purr PurR PuRR PURR PURR! Quincy told the witch to stay steady and not release the magic from her wand until he gave her the sign. PURR PURR PURR! The Great Dragon Apathy became greedy for more meatballs and took to the air, flying as only dragons can. Joey and Woody expertly shot meatballs into the air like professional skeet shooters, keeping the Dragon interested only in his own gain. PURR PURR PURR! The cauldron began to release a softly scented steam into the air…soothing, smelling faintly of tropical flowers, warm, comforting and full of care….the steam expanded outward and upward and would soon be upon the dragon as he flew about catching meatballs. PURR PURR PURR! Quincy, Wee Russ and Little Sheldon joined paws and purred ever louder, staring at the Great Dragon Apathy, sending him CARE in their thoughts. Steady steady dear witch, Quincy advised the witch, it’s almost time. Care hit Apathy like a sonic boom and he instantly crumpled to the ground. There was a great crash as the ground cracked, dust and debris swirled about blinding everyone, and Quincy shouted, “NOW!” to the witch. Doing a good thing for the first time,  in a very long time, the witch cast her spell from her wand into the air where the dragon had fallen from. The power from her wand hit the steam from the magic cauldron: KABOOM! Instantly rainbows shot out from the sky in all directions and people who lived a thousand miles away could see the gorgeous colors in the sky and smiled, not knowing of the great battle with Apathy. All they knew was all of a sudden, they were visiting with their neighbors and calling out checking on friends and family. It suddenly felt like….the right thing to do!

There in that field as the dust settled, a great silence of peace enfolded the Royal Cats and the witch. Quietly, birds began to sing their beautiful song. A butterfly popped up out of the weeds and began to flutter about. It was over. Apathy was defeated. A great chasm from where the dragon fell to the ground, separated Joey and Woody from the others, and they waved paws across the gap to let everyone know they were OK! Joey and Woody had donned their “men in black” sunglasses and high-pawed each other in their glee. Little Sheldon and Wee Russ thought nothing of this great event, as if defeating Apathy was just another day for them, and ran off after the butterfly to have poonanigans. Quincy understood this too, all Royal Cats know that the course of one’s life is shaped by what one believes, and that it’s all very simple. The witch stood and watched it all, taking it all in. She laughed at herself, now realizing that choice, a simple choice, could enrich her so.

Hearing approaching horses behind them, Quincy raised a paw in greeting to General Buonaparte and his elite troops! The General soon saw that Joey and Woody would require assistance to cross the chasm and ordered his troops to set-up a zip line to get them over the gaping, smoking hole in the ground. The witch began to cry quietly, and after speaking with her privately, the General led the recovery mission into the dragon’s lair to find all the Good Hearts that Apathy had hoarded over the years.

General Buonaparte returned the witch’s good heart to her with great fanfare. Joey and Woody wanted to go across the zip-line again and again, thinking it great fun. Not wanting to miss any fun, Quincy, Wee Russ and Little Sheldon all took turns careening across on the zip-line too. What’s good for one Royal Cat, is good for all Royal Cats, was their thinking. All the other Good Hearts were placed in a softly lined travel chest, to be taken to the Princesses (who would know just what to do with them).

Now becoming stern, the General told everyone it was time to go home, the Princesses were waiting for them, and Little Princess Katy-Did was very worried. Fresh horses were offered to the witch and the Royal Cats, and they began their long journey back to the castle.

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Joey & Woody fighting the dragon.

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Russ, Quincy & Sheldon making a magic potion.

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