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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/1288781
by Wm55
Rated: E · Short Story · Children's · #1288781
A 1st place WINNER! Of the Fairytales and Myths contest.
Mandeville’s flower garden
Dedication: For Paige, who’s strength of will and character not only lifted her from the depths of despair, but had the strength to reach back and save me as well. This story is dedicated to her beauty and inspiration. I love you Paige.

Mandeville’s flower garden

The saga of


There are many mysteries in the garden.
It is early summer in the Mandeville’s flower garden and the flowers are in full bloom. Snails are crawling and frogs are leaping, bees are buzzing. It’s a wonderful time of the year. A moth flutters about the tops of the flowers as he contentedly makes his way along. Sampling the pollen and nectar from each flower, as if a connoisseur. He seems totally oblivious to the storm cloud that is approaching the garden. He just flutters along lazily and content, as if entranced by the flowers perfumed scent.On the garden floor, he sees, a snail making his way along ever so slowly, leaving his signature trail behind him. A rather large, and I must say, well fed toad is sitting next to an equally impressive toadstool. There are ladybugs and earthworms and oh well, by now I think you get the picture. Just another serene day in the Mandeville’s flower garden…or is it? Good fortune can change rather quickly in the garden. Soon the sky begins to take on an eerie hue and then suddenly the wind begins to howl and thunder cracks like the snap of a bullwhip! Still the moth just ignores natures warning and merrily continues upon his way. In what must have seemed like a blink of and eye, a cloud burst opened up above the garden and the wind and rain thrashed the little moth about, slapping him into the hedges and crashing him to the ground. Soon the worst was over and once again calm prevailed in the garden. The poor little moth was in pretty bad shape. He had taken a rough ride and was pretty banged up, but luckily - still alive. He struggles to right himself, leaning against a rock when he notices that it is moving. What could this be? He wondered. This is an interesting sight. It was long and curved at the edges and- it was moving! Once he was able to focus his eyes he could tell that it was a cocoon. It seemed that he had seen one before somewhere. It must have been tossed to the ground in the storm, just like he had been. He could hear something from inside the cocoon, struggling to escape. He called out and urged it to fight harder and to not give up.

Keep trying, said the moth. Don’t give up! You can do it! At last the cocoon began to break open and what emerged from the cocoon was breathtakingly beautiful. The moth had never before seen such beauty. A butterfly! Not just any old butterfly, but the most beautiful butterfly in the whole of the garden. She unfolded her delicate and velvet like wings. Oh how they trembled as they opened, because they had not yet affirmed. I am somehow different said the beautiful butterfly. Yes, said the moth. I too have gone through this change. I was once a young caterpillar with nothing better to do than roam the garden, eating at will, but then something came over me and I felt that I needed rest. I built a cocoon and went to sleep. When I awoke, I broke free of my cocoon and this is what I had become. Soon your wings will dry and gain strength and vigor and then you will fly away. Fly? Said the butterfly. This should be interesting. Will you come with me? Said the butterfly. I don’t think that I can. You see, I am hurt and I don’t think that I can fly. I cannot just leave you here, said the butterfly. There are predators lurking about throughout the garden, you never know if one is just under the next twig or upturned leaf. Oh yes I know, said the moth.

What do they call you may I ask? They call me Paige said the beautiful butterfly. And you? They call me William, said the moth. Introductions having been established they quickly began to discuss the garden, while waiting for Paige's wings to dry and gain their strength. They talked of what adventures awaited them and all their hopes and dreams. They laughed and laughed and laughed some more until it was time. Time to test her new wings. With a flutterence of her newly formed wings Paige uplifted herself and took to the air in flight. Soon she was atop the flowers and could see with amazement the entirety of the garden. She looked around for William, but alas he could not follow. William she called out, but there was no answer. So Paige flew back down to where she had left William. There he was still sitting there. He had not moved an inch. Won’t you come fly with me? Said Paige. I would if I could, but I don’t think that I can, said William. Won’t you try said Paige? Someone once told me to not give up and to try harder. That was good advice then and it seems like good advice now. Ok said William. I will try, but I am not making any promises. With that William leapt into the air and began to flutter his tattered wings. Up he awkwardly flew until he found himself once again atop the flowers. I knew that you could do it said Paige. For a few moments William was happy again, but unfortunately his wings were to damaged to sustain him for long and he had to find a place that he could sit and rest. Just beneath them William spotted a most inviting toadstool. It was the largest and most impressive toadstool William had ever seen. Down Paige and William went, until they were next to the toadstool.

Have you ever seen such an impressive sight? Said William. I shall rest here on this soft velvet like toadstool. Just until my wings have completely healed. I will stay with you if you need me to said Paige. No no, said William. He could sense the eagerness that Paige felt to go and explore the garden. You go and have fun, said William. Then come back and tell me of your adventures. I will be right here resting my wings. Ok, I will be back soon! said Paige. And with that she was eagerly off in a flutter. It wasn’t anytime at all when William heard a noise coming from the weed stand behind him. He turned and looked as the weeds began to bend under the weight of whatever was coming through. William wasn’t afraid. It just wasn’t in his nature to be afraid. He watched the creature as it emerged. It was a snail. A rather large, but ordinary snail. Hello said William. Oh! Hello said the snail, seemingly slightly startled.

I did not see you up there upon that toadstool. I hope that I didn’t startle you, said William. You, startle me? Pishposh! The snail exclaimed! I assure you that I did not intend to frighten you. In fact you startled me, William said with a laugh. My name is William, may I ask what do they call you? My name is Simon, the snail said in a nasal tone. Well I am very happy to meet you Simon. I hope that you get to feeling better soon, said William. Feeling better? Said Simon. Why I feel just fine. Oh, I thought you had a cold or something, because you sound a little like you do. A code? No, I don’t have a code, said Simon, in a voice that was very, very nasal like.
William and Simon talked for a while and William told Simon of his encounter with the beautiful Paige. Simon talked of his travels and the many creatures that he had encountered along the way. Then it was time for Simon to get moving along again. Well, I would love to visit with you longer, said Simon, but I really must get moving. I don’t cover a lot of ground, very fast, and I want so to be on the other side of the garden by nightfall. What’s on the other side of the garden, asked William? I don’t know, said Simon. That’s why I want to go there. Oh, I see, said William. You too are having an adventure. Well, be careful, said William. I hear that there are predators lurking everywhere in the garden. They could be anywhere, just under the next twig or upturned leaf. So take heed. I will, and you be safe as well my new friend. With that, Simon vanished into the surrounding vegetation.Meanwhile, Paige was busy fluttering about the tops of the flowers when she heard a fascinating sound. What is making that sound she thought? It was getting louder and coming closer. It was a kind of mix between a buzzing and a humming sound. Then she saw what it was that was making that strange sound. It was a dragonfly! He was magnificent, darting about. He was metallic blue green and seemed to change hues back and forth with the glancing blows of the sunlight. Paige was instantly entranced by the dragonfly’s beauty. He had it all going on. Youth, strength and he could fly like nothing she had ever encountered before.

Hello popped Paige. Oh hello said the Dragonfly. Are you dangerous? said Paige. No, not at all said the dragonfly. I may appear dangerous, but I assure you that I am harmless. My name is Paige. May I ask what do they call you? Why, my name is Ernie. I must say that you are the most magnificent dragonfly that I have ever seen, said Paige. How many have you seen, said Ernie? Uh! Just one so far, Paige said embarrassingly. Well you are the most attractive butterfly that I have ever seen as well, said Ernie. Oh and how many have you seen? Said Paige. Plenty said Ernie. You see, I get around a lot in the garden. I don’t want to brag or anything. Oh no, interrupted Paige. But I am very fast and can get around the garden very quickly. What are you doing right now? asked an obviously star struck Paige. Me? I am exploring the garden that’s what I am doing, said a self-assured Ernie. If you like I would enjoy having your company on my journey. Why yes said Paige almost giddily. I would enjoy accompanying you, as well. Perhaps we could have an adventure… or two. Yes, perhaps we shall, said Ernie. So off they went, Ernie darting and Paige fluttering about and trying to keep up with the ever-darting Ernie. Try to keep up, Paige won’t you? Says Ernie. Yes, I will try, said Paige with an eager smile. Ernie showed Paige many points of interest in the garden. The rose bushes and the hibiscus. The daffodils were Paige’s favorite. Soon the shadows grew long and Paige felt a strange feeling come over her. Oh no! she cried out. I forgot William she exclaimed! William? Who or what is a William? asked an indignant Ernie. William is my friend. I left him back at the edge of the garden, where the hedges begin. I really must go back and see if he is ok, you see he was hurt in that storm that came through late this morning. Oh yes, the storm, said Ernie. Why I just flew right through it like it was nothing, said the proud and boastful Ernie. Nevertheless, I really must go back, said a concerned Paige. Ok, if you must we shall go back. Oh, you don’t have to accompany me if you don’t want to. I think that I can find my own way, said Paige in a doubtful voice. Nonsense! said Ernie. It would be the only proper thing to do. I can’t let a butterfly fly back unescorted this time of day. Why, I hear that there are predators lurking everywhere in the garden. They could be just under the next twig or turned up leaf. It just isn’t safe on your own. Safety in numbers and all that. Ok, if you insist, said a somewhat relieved and grateful Paige. Not sure if she had just been insulted or if Ernie’s concern was genuine.

All the while, William was resting his tattered wings and looking to the sky in anticipation, for his beautiful butterfly‘s return. He couldn’t wait to tell her of his chance encounter with Simon and to hear about what adventures she might have had, as well. He watched and he watched until finally he saw her high above him at the flower tops. Oh what a sight he thought. She fluttered down to be at his side. Paige! William cried out. William I’m here, said Paige. They both spun around each other, well, like moths to a flame, pardon the pun. He told Paige of his chance meeting with Simon and Paige told William of her chance meeting with Ernie. William didn’t take the news about Ernie very well. You see he so dearly wanted to be the one to escort Paige around the garden. However, he knew that with his damaged wings that would be impossible. So is Ernie a good dragonfly? said William. Oh yes, said Paige, he can fly very fast and dart back and forth too! said an excited Paige. Terrific, William said rather sarcastically. After awhile Ernie appeared above the flower tops and yelled down to Paige. Sorry to break this up dear friends, but it’s getting late in the day and we still to get to the other side of the garden. Ok, Paige replied. I have to go William, but I will return tomorrow to tell you of my adventure in the other side of the garden. Ok, said William I will be right here waiting. With that said, off she fluttered to meet Ernie atop the flowers.Ernie and Paige flew all that afternoon. They saw sights that Paige had not even imagined. Flowers so beautiful they were indescribable and rivaled even her in their beauty. Paige and Ernie settled in for the night, nestled in amongst the hibiscus flowers. The next day at sunrise Paige said that she simply must go back and tell William all about what she had seen on the other side of the garden. Ernie said that he would accompany her on her voyage back to the other side of the garden to see William and so off they went .Ernie and Paige were really beginning to get along as they talked along their way of all the interesting creatures that they have seen in the garden. Lydia the gossiping ladybug, and Theodore the cranky old tortoise. Buzz, the busy bumblebee and Ned the gnat. So many you could scarcely remember them all. Oh, and of course, Bennie the bashful beetle. Who could ever forget him?Soon they were approaching the toadstool where she had left William the night before. She was bursting with anticipation and couldn’t wait to see William's face when she told him of her adventure. Finally, she and Ernie arrived atop the flowers, where the toadstool lie just beneath. Down she fluttered to the toadstool. William! She cried out. William? William? I am back! There was no reply. Finally she had reached the toadstool, but William was nowhere to be found. William she cried! Still no answer. Then a deep throaty voice said, come closer my dear. Paige turned around to see a very frightening sight! Come closer the voice said yet again. Paige fluttered a little closer toward the voice. Closer! The voice said even more deeply and amplified, as if that were even possible. Then Paige saw what or whom the deep-throated voice belonged to. It was a tremendously large and apparently well-fed toad.

Why do you bother my slumber? The toad said. I, I was looking for my friend Wi, Wil, William, Paige said sheepishly. William? Said the toad. I know of no such thing. Come closer my dear, so that I may see you better said the toad. Paige fluttered cautiously closer. I left him right here last night and he said that he would be here today and he is not said a near frantic Paige. I have not seen anyone here today said the toad. Come a little closer, said the toad. Paige began to flutter yet even closer, when all of a sudden a long and disgusting tongue came out of the toad's mouth and was heading straight for Paige! Paige was so surprised that she was frozen with fear. Just as the toads tongue was about to wrap around and engulf Paige, Ernie swooped in and scooped her up and flew her off to safety. That was a close one, said Ernie. Paige began crying. What do you suppose happened to William? said Paige. I don’t know, said Ernie. You don’t think that toad ate him? asked a fearful Paige. I don’t know for sure, said Ernie. Perhaps he had healed and went on an adventure of his own said Ernie. He did say that he so enjoyed dancing in the light that shines at the edge of the garden, said Paige trying to reassure herself. Sure, I bet that’s it, said Ernie. Let's ask around and see if any one knows anything about where he might be. Yes lets ask, said Paige. So Ernie and Paige set off to ask if anyone had seen William. They asked the ladybugs, who always knew everything that went on in the garden, or so they said, but alas they knew nothing of what had happened to William. One of the ladybugs, Lydia did say, however, that she had heard that a big monster came out of nowhere and ate him. The other ladybugs quickly dismissed her tale as pure “poppycock! They asked Simon, who they found nibbling on a nearby leaf, but Simon hadn’t seen him either. Frantic with fear Paige flew farther and farther towards the edge of the garden, until she found herself exhausted and settled down upon a daffodil to rest. William, she said in a muffled cry. What has happened to you? Then she began to cry. Softly at first, and then her anguish grew until she was crying as loudly as she could cry. It was so sad to see such a beautiful butterfly in such pain and agony. Just then, in the distance, Paige heard something. It was very faint, but it was definitely a familiar sound that she had heard before. Not only a familiar sound, but also a sound that she had been waiting to hear with all her heart. Paige! My dearest, darling Paige, the voice was saying. It was William! Fluttering about, atop the flowers. They flew to each other side and danced about, like, well, you guessed it. Moths to a flame. Hahaha. I thought that you were eaten by that tremendous toad by the toadstool, said Paige. No said William. I was sitting there, on that toadstool, last night when I saw the light. The light that appears at the edge of the garden at night. I remembered dancing in it before. I was drawn to it, so much so, that I could not resist. When I made it to the light I felt no pain or injury at all. I am all better now, completely healed.

They sat upon the flower tops and William told Paige of his adventure. Paige listens attentively, as William tells of his dancing in the light. Then Paige told William of her adventure on the other side of the garden. Never had you seen such happiness in the garden. Paige and William flew back to meet with Ernie and Simon and all the friends that they had made while on their adventures. Everyone was so very happy to see that William had survived after all. William was heard to exclaim to all. "You never know where your next true friend will be, maybe just under the next twig or upturned leaf." A muffled utterance could be heard from the still gathering crowd. Yes I agree, oh yes, ah ha! Yep.

The end
Or is it just The Beginning ?
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