Amazing Kids! Magazine

A Kind Heart, Chapter 2: Transformations

By Julia Melik, Age 13, Prague, Czech Republic

 

Continued from Chapter 1 found in the April issue. For complete enjoyment, read A Kind Heart, Chapter 1 first, although you will enjoy this piece on its own as well.

Upon entering the room, the two older sisters started to laugh at Mia and make fun of her. Mia sighed, whispering to herself that she’d rather have stayed in the forest. Then she remembered something and added with a grin: “Stoory-Shury-pary-boory.”

Just as she said this, the whole room filled with blue smoke and there was a roar as loud as shots fired from all the King’s cannons. The kitten began swirling; it jumped and rolled over 3 times before emerging as a stately white horse with golden wings and thick mane. The sisters could only gape at it in surprise and throw up their hands—the gift for the youngest daughter was the most beautiful of all! Yes, my dear readers, even at such a moment, their envy took over all other their senses. And so the sisters rushed to the horse, trying to grab his mane and take him.

“Sisters, dears, please don’t hurt him,” whispered Mia.

The horse nickered and bounced, and then flew over the house and sped skyward. The youngest just managed to stretch out her hands to him, tears filling her eyes, when the horse had already disappeared behind the clouds. Father looked sadly at it all from the window, saying nothing.

Rainy autumn came, and then cold winter. All the affairs in the Kingdom had gone awry. Overseas merchants no longer came to them, and didn’t allow the local merchants to come either. They had “closed the borders,” as one would say in the language of the Royal Court. It became rumored that the king was actually a terrible dragon with the body of a crocodile and birds’ legs. No one around believed it, but in any case, the people stopped communicating with the royal family.

A cold wind pushed huge snowdrifts into the yard. Father began every morning with cleaning, and Mia helped him melt the snow with burning firewood, which the father collected the previous evening. Every day there was sleet, and long icicles hung from the roof to the ground. In the night, the snow started again. The snowflakes, silver and dark, flew obliquely because of the wind. The snow lay everywhere, in the castle and in the forest, in the Kingdom, in the mountains, and flew on further to Superosity Islands and distant castles.

On Saturday morning, Father decided to go to the forest, as they had run out of firewood. Before, they’d bought it all at the town market, but now money was tight and they had to gather it themselves. Father harnessed the horse and cart, took a loaf of bread and a jar of milk, and went into the forest. When he entered the forest, the sky was filled with grey clouds; a strong wind sprang up, and the trees began to sway from side to side, like grass under a breeze in a garden. The growing darkness was only occasionally pierced by flashes of lightning.

Father rode deeper into the woods, and here the sky abruptly darkened and rain started up. Its thick jets shook the already snowy land of the forest, helping to finish off the bushes, which were pounced with all the force of the wind. The trees were stronger than bushes and still stood firm, except for the birch, which decided to surrender.

Father went into the forest further and further away, hiding from the storm, and not noticing two pairs of burning eyes, which had been watching him for quite some time already. Finally, Father found the edge, secured by heavy and dense crowns of trees that canopied the ground from the rain. The trees were so high that the storm was almost unheard of. Father unharnessed the horse and began to shake off the frozen drops of rain from him. Suddenly a rough voice said to him:

“By what right does your horse trample on our edge?”

Father looked back; two big guys with clubs came out from the thicket, one with red hair and the other with black, both in blue cloaks.

“I’m so sorry,” replied Father, “I did not know. Could I please wait here until the rain is over?”

“You could, but first you must pay!” said one of the big guys.

“How much do I owe you for my horse pinching the grass?” Father asked, alarmed but defiant.

“Give us your horse and all your money”—and immediately after declaring so, the two attacked him. Father was strong, but didn’t expect this, and the second man attacked him from the backside, slamming his huge cudgel on Father’s head.

Father fell, stunned, and the two men bent over him, tying his hands and feet. They then kindled a fire and began to roast a duck, stolen from a nearby village. These two had long been searched for by the Royal Police—they robbed the houses, attacked people in the woods and robbed them. One was named the Red and other the White. No one knew that these two were once brave and good knights, who were bewitched by the evil witch. And now they were eating duck and drinking wine. After drinking wine they fell to the ground and began to snore.

Father tried to break free from the shackles, but the knots were made strong. His hands and feet became numb; the branches of the tree began to drip drops of rain, rolling down from the upper branches. He began to freeze. Night soon came.

Suddenly he heard a faint mew, then again, and now closer. “Kitty, kitty,” he called quietly. And an old woman with a basket in her hand appeared before him.

“Have you got some milk?” asked an old woman. “My kitties are hungry.”

“There is some in the jar; it will be my pleasure to give it to him, if you help me to untie my hands and feet, please,” said Father.

With unexpected nimbleness, the old lady untied the strong cords and Father sat down, rubbing his numbed hands. Then he took the jar out of the cart, giving it to the kittens, and also bread, dividing the portion in half with the old lady.

“It seems you are a good man,” said the old woman. “If you want, I can give you these kittens.” They were, by this time, already full and snuggling sweetly in the basket.

“Thank you so much; my daughters will be very happy. If you would like, I will take you to the village.”

“Thank you, but here is home.” And with that, the old woman disappeared.

Father harnessed the horse and went home. It was already morning and the darkness gradually dissipated. He soon left the forest and went by the road. Unfortunately, it was without the firewood, but with beautiful kittens. He again didn’t notice as the robbers stealthily followed him and that behind him white doves flew above.

Mia met father at the far exit of the forest. She didn’t sleep all night, waiting for him. Riding up to her, Father wearily got out of the carriage and firmly hugged Mia as she ran up to him. Then he took a basket of kittens and gave it to the girl.

“Thank you, Father, but these should be for my sisters.”

“But you don’t have a kitten—he flew away.”

“It doesn’t matter. I’m sure, he’ll be back, I feel so. And besides, the sisters don’t have any pets.”

“Well, as you wish,” said Father, and they went home.

The elder sisters immediately grabbed the kittens and fed them milk, awaiting their transformations into Pegasus horses. Meanwhile, Father, with difficulty, pulled the strongbox with an axe and a handsaw and carried that to his office.

“Yes, it will be hard without money, but well, we have other things in abundance: flour and grits,” he thought to himself. “So we will survive winter and afterwards I will borrow some money from my kingly friends and go overseas as before.”

The girls didn’t notice anything else, as they were fully occupied with the kittens. Mia stroked their fur as her older sisters waited for the transformation. But nothing happened—the kittens happily lapped milk and purred with pleasure, but nothing more. The elder sisters angrily looked at each other and hissed at the younger, “It’s you again—you did something! How did you turn your kitten into a Pegasus?”

Mia sadly looked at them, but said nothing. Then the older painfully grabbed Mia’s arm, and the average sister yanked her hair.

“Tell us now! Aren’t we your sisters?”

“Of course, you are my sisters,” Mia said. And then she closed her eyes and said:

“Stoory-Shury-pary-Boory!”

But again, nothing happened. Mia looked up in surprise, not understanding what was happening. Her sisters hissed and kicked the kittens onto the street. The storm was starting outside again: thunder began to shake the earth, the wind rushed with heavy snowflakes, fading away after hitting the walls and roof of the house.

Mia ran out onto the street where the kittens plaintively squeaked. Lightning flashed right next to the house, lighting up the two big guys, who were watching from behind their cover. Now the rain fell on the ground and the roof, pounding on it with cold streams of water and destroying the last of the snowflakes. She saw two poorly dressed men, weeping in the rain and looking plaintively at her. Mia hid kittens in her bosom, and called the beggars (as she thought they were) into the house to wait out the rain.

At this moment, the storm suddenly ceased, and a big rainbow appeared in the sky. Was it night or day? Did winter urgently have to get back to the North?

Seeing this, Elsa rushed into Mia’s room, grabbed her kittens and again threw them into the street. The robbers picked up the kittens and warmed them on their chests. Briefly, in the frozen nature, complete silence fell.

Then there arose again a great wind that knocked over even a huge barrel of melted snow in the yard, thundered thunder, and the robbers turned into two knights, and the kittens turned into two horses: one knight had a bay horse, and the other white with black mane. Seeing this, the sisters became speechless and flushed with envy and anger. Father ran out of the house with a sword in his hand after hearing the noise and rumble.

“Get away from my daughters!” he cried at the knights. But they said nothing, but just stood in front of him on their knees, holding in outstretched hands their swords.

“Honorable King,” they said, and turned to the father together. “We fell in love with your daughters at first sight.”

The knight in red armor bowed Elsa, and the one in white armor bowed Romula. Then they continued: “An evil witch turned us in rogues, but thanks to you we were again people. Our salvation we owe to you until our death, and we are willing to do anything to thank you. We are brothers and our castles lie three days away from your Palace. We serve our own young king – King Golden Knight. He rules Tetlania.”

Yes, in the past, Father had often visited that Kingdom, until it fell into disrepair when the king’s only son disappeared. Unable to bear the grief, the king of Tetlania died.

After the transformation of the knights, the elder sisters tearfully rushed to apologize to the younger, and kind Mia, who, of course, hugged and forgave them. The father asked the knights to stand up and solemnly agreed to give his elder daughters to them in marriage.

Dawn broke across the sky, the clouds parted, and all saw the Pegasus. He lapped one circle over the house and ended at the feet of the youngest, with his head on her shoulder. Mia kissed him and began to comb his lush mane. The knights lifted the sisters on their own horses and rode along with them.

Then someone knocked at the house. Mia ran to open the door, and there was an old woman in a black cloak. The younger girl happily embraced her – it was the beggar woman whom she had helped, and who taught her the magic words in return. Father, with reverence, said hello. It was this woman who had saved his life in the forest and who had given him kittens for the daughters. The old woman smiled at all of them and said that her name was actually Dadona, and that she was a good witch. She explained that Mia had a really kind heart and that was why all the magic had happened—it all became possible only thanks to her, and the spell actually didn’t play any role.

Father smiled sadly. “She has a kind heart from her mother, whom we unfortunately haven’t seen for a very long time. She was kidnapped by a dragon. I’m perfectly happy seeing you all here, but only one thing is missing for my complete happiness – to find my wife.”

The old woman sadly said: “The wicked witch Mirella had the dragon kidnap your wife because you didn’t want you to take anyone but her as your wife. But if the last evil magic can be eradicated, Mirella will disappear forever.”

“And do you know how to find her?” Mia asked.

“Certainly, I will show you the way, but it will be a hard road.”

“Then, all, let’s go!” Father grandly exclaimed.

(To Be Continued)