Vera and the Flying Turtle

Stories are kind of like waking dreams. That's especially true when you get into fantasy.


Vera has the imagination of an intellectually engaged nine-year-old. I think I keep pace with her well when we're alternating turns in writing. We, of course, go over punctuation, grammar, spelling, syntax, etc. But, the writing quickly transcends those technical skills. And then meaning starts to emerge as a primary focus. We often discover things we did not know that we know in the process of writing.

- - - - - - -

In a land far away there lived a turtle.
She liked eating butterflies, but they were so hard to catch.
She looked like a rock, so the butterflies would think that she was a stone. They would land on her, and she would eat them.
On a Tuesday evening she was having a casual conversation with a bird, and mentioned that it was annoying to have to wait so long to get a butterfly. The bird recommended that she should grow wings, and then just fly to catch the butterflies.
"What's your name?" said the bird.
"M...A...G...E...Mage."
"Your name is Mage?"
"Yes."
The bird looked into the sky and gave it some thought. "Can't you just, you know, do magic? Like a mage then? And bring the butterflies to you or something?"
"I cannot fly. I was born the day before yesterday. What is a mage?"
"A mage can do magic. Have you tried to do magic yet?" asked the bird.
"No. Doing magic is doing what?" said Mage, and her eyes began to shine.
The bird felt a tingling in his spine, he ruffled his feathers and tried to fly away. But, there was a flash of light, and when it cleared the bird was gone and Mage had wings.
"I can fly, hurray! I can fly, I can fly!" said Mage and laughed.
But no one was there to hear her.
In a bedroom slept a girl. It was her dream, and she woke up.
"Oh no, that was a dream, I need to talk to mom."
The end!

- - - - - - -

I was very curious about what Vera thought about her story and the dream. I asked her simply, "What does the dream mean?" She didn't hesitate, and answered, "That if you want something so hard, you will have it." A belief that desiring something strongly will magically get you that thing is an interesting idea, and a popular one, but I didn't want to discuss it anymore deeply with her. We were near the end of our session anyway.

One of the parts that I find the most interesting in this story is that someone else had to be sacrificed for the turtle to get what it wanted. A disturbing part of human nature. And, if you want to go deeper than that, the someone that was sacrificed was the bird that was trying to help the turtle. When I wrote the line, "But no one was there to hear her." I think Vera might have realized that for the first time, and immediately afterward she turned it into a dream to help escape that little moral conundrum. All very interesting.

Humanity is both revealed and created by its stories.

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