Fantasy Inspirational Kids

It seemed to Daisy that she was the absolute worst reader in her class. She had a terrible habit of burning her books. She would sit in class and the teacher would ask about the latest story and Daisy would avert looking at the teacher in the hope’s that she wouldn’t be called. And being called always seemed to be the one thing that Daisy could count on regardless of how much she dreaded it. Oh, how she hated that class and having the teacher ask her about the latest story that she had not read. The first few times she burned her book, the teacher, Miss Drake, appeared that she felt sorry for Daisy and let it go, but after those first few times, Miss Drake had now also given up on her. 

Daisy recalled that after the fourth or fifth burning, she was in the cafeteria and overheard Miss Drake talking to the principal, Mr. Basilisk, and they were talking about her! “Daisy has a terrible vice”, she spoke in a lower tone so as not to be overheard, but Daisy, being very keen in hearing picked up on the conversation, “Daisy is a book burner. I don’t mean to berate her. I don’t think she starts off wanting to burn books, but nevertheless, the outcome is always the same. I’m not sure if it is intentional at this point, I just know that we can’t afford to keep giving books to students that let their vice take over rationalism! This behavior has got to be addressed and something done about her!” Mr. Basilisk, calmed Miss Drake down, “now, now. Daisy is not a bad student. Let’s give her some time and see if she stops this vice on her own.” Daisy was shocked. She had no idea what a vice was. So, she looked it up. Needless to say, she was broken-hearted. Vice – immoral or wicked behavior. What?!! She was neither immoral or wicked! Why would they say such things?! Although Daisy had never intended to burn the books she read, the reality was that she was indeed a book-burner. She was desperate to get to the bottom of this “vice” and figure out how to stop it.

Daisy pondered on this and what she could do. It wasn’t like Daisy was trying to light her books on fire. It just seemed to happen. Oh, she could read, that is for certain, but as she got more and more into the story, she would find herself excited about the tale and she couldn’t wait to get to the next page, but then… somehow the book caught fire and there she was, no finished story, no ending, just a few burnt up pieces of charred papers, remnants of a magical story, lost to her and no way for her to talk about the latest adventure in a book that no longer existed for her.

There were a few friends of Daisy’s that tried helping her out by loaning her their books, but they ended up getting into trouble with their families, because as one could predict, the following day Daisy would bring them back charred remnants of their precious story books. After much thought and many burned books later, she became resolved that if she didn’t begin reading a book, she wouldn’t end up burning it.  This way, books could be safe around her. The issue with stopping this vice, was that she started to get a reputation now that she was not very bright or didn’t know how to read, as she could never talk about a book in class that was assigned to be read. And oh, how she loved to read. It was a terrible predicament. She felt she couldn’t win. She didn’t know who to turn to, so she suffered silently, no more vice, but no books either.

Time went by. Daisy had her vice under control, but was obviously miserable. She would hear the stories through the voice of others and use her imagination to relive the stories. It was a difficult journey. Now just when Daisy was ready to give up on ever being able to read through a whole story without it burning up, her older brother, Tarragon happened to come home from college for a family visit. Now Tarragon was a sensitive soul and he knew that Daisy was unhappy, so after the family loaded him up with lots of questions of school and how his dorm was working out, how he liked his teachers, what the weather was like, etc., he sought out Daisy, hiding in her room with no lights on, and a tarp over her head. “Daisy, you are about the prettiest little thing we have here at our home, pretty and smart. Pray tell, why the tarp over your head and why are you in your room all alone and in the dark?” Of course, Daisy had not spoken about her book burning events out loud to anyone, although she had a sneaky suspicion that her parents were on to her fairly early on, especially because she was not overly thorough in cleaning up all the burnt pieces of previous unfinished book pieces lying about in her room. But she did appreciate that her parents did not berate her or make her feel any worse that she had been burning the books. Although she did notice that they seemed sad. She thought maybe they knew she was suffering, not being able to read anything. She also took note that her bookcase that was in the corner of her room, had mysteriously been emptied quite some time ago. She hadn’t thought much about it, but looking at it now, she was pretty certain it was her mom and dad that removed any helpless books out of her room to save them from a potential Daisy-burning.

“So, sis, tell me, what gives?”, Tarragon gently nudged her. Daisy came out of the stupor she was in and suddenly burst into tears. “There is something very wrong with me, Tarragon! I love books. You know that I do. Why I remember when I was really little, you used to read to me before bed. I couldn’t wait to see how the story ended and now, I have no idea how any story ends.” “Why is that, Daisy?”, Tarragon asked, such a gentle creature was he and so persuading that Daisy felt she could come out and tell him about her vice. “Oh my!”, exclaimed Tarragon, “that explains a lot!” “Explains what, Tarragon?!”, Daisy cried. “The book burning, of course! My dear Daisy, you have an enormous power! and if not tempered with calming thoughts, can get very excited and catch things on fire!” Why, when I was your age, I was catching everything on fire!” “What?!” exclaimed Daisy. “You used to burn books too? No one ever told me that!” “Sure”, said Tarragon. “The DragonBox Family is infamous for the fires we can create! We are an emotional race, come from a long line of Mythical Serpents. I’m shocked mom and dad didn’t talk to you about it. Because we are so emotional and passionate, we have to be aware of those emotions. Things that can trigger us, like excitement are fine. Just be aware of them. You can control them.”

“Daisy, he said, “you are the master of your destiny, my sweet sister-dragon. You can decide to burn a book or not burn a book. Don’t let your emotions dictate your actions. You are much stronger than that. Here, let me grab one of my books and I’ll prove it to you. Let’s sit down together and you can read. Keep yourself in check and you can get through the story without causing a fire on some poor, unsuspecting book. Sound like a good idea?” Daisy was beside herself. It never occurred to her that her vice was something that if thought through carefully and being aware of the implications of her actions was something she could control. Was it always there in front of her but she just hadn’t seen it before? This was beyond belief. She had control. She could determine her future and read whatever she wanted. She enthusiastically took the book from Tarragon’s waiting claws and sat with him, reading page after page of a wonderful story. And when she began to feel excited about the story, she would pause, take a deep breath, clear her mind of the excitement she was feeling and realized she could be excited about the story but could control her dragon’s breath and not set fire to the book. 

It was well into the night when she and Tarragon finished her 5th book with no fires, no burning, smoldering, nothing; just sheer enjoyment in reading. She hugged Tarragon with the fiercest sister-dragon hug that she could muster. Tarragon laughed and they went downstairs together to get a glass of milk and read one more story at the kitchen table together.

Daisy couldn’t wait to get to school. She not only read that week’s story requirements, she had read all the previous ones as well (borrowing them from the librarian, who of course was initially hesitant to give Daisy all that reading material). But in no time at all, Miss Drake, her classmates, her principal, Mr. Basilisk and all her friends couldn’t wait to hear Daisy’s interpretation of a story. Her renditions came to life and brought color and joy in her recitations, but hardly ever did they start a fire!

-The End

January 13, 2024 22:15

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Stephen Laviera
23:15 Jan 24, 2024

Fantasy is not my go to genre. That being said you have a love for your characters. That’s both Palanuik and Piccoult esc. The concept it captivating in self awareness. However, I urge you to refine your articulation. Great story 👏


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Hannah Lynn
21:26 Jan 24, 2024

I enjoyed this a lot! I was intrigued to figure out why the books were burning and the little clues came into place slowly until the mystery was solved. Nicely done!


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