Elizabeth was an average child. She liked reading fantasy books, loved learning about astronomy, and most importantly, music. There was something magical about music that she simply couldn't resist.
Elizabeth lived in Oxfordshire, England. Her parents had died in a chariot ride just a few weeks after she was born. Four-year-old Elizabeth now lived with her grandmother, who was a little forgetful. Sometimes she would forget about Elizabeth’s homeschool lessons, and Elizabeth herself would much rather catch butterflies in the garden than sit still listening to lessons.
On one ordinary day, Elizabeth was reading her favourite fantasy series and questioned her grandmother, “Granny, are you a fairy?” Her grandmother chuckled and responded in a calming voice, “No, dear, I am not. What makes you think I am?” Elizabeth stared at the book in her arms. “Because the good fairies in Sleeping Beauty are chubby, short, and old, just like y--” Elizabeth hadn’t finished speaking just before she screamed and collapsed towards the floor, unconscious.
Blinking, Elizabeth sat up. She was lying in a hospital bed. “G-granny,” she stuttered fearfully. “W-where are we?” Her grandmother’s anxious face appeared in front of her.
“Elizabeth? Oh! Goodness gracious me, you’re awake!”
“B-but where am I?”
“You fainted, dear. Granny took you to a hospital.”
Elizabeth cringed. “What’s a hop-see-tail?”
“Not hop-see-tail. Hospital. HOS-PIT-TEL.”
“Hos-pit-tel? What’s that?”
“A hospital is where people go when they’re ill, injured, or something bad like that.”
“Did Mommy come here when she crashed?”
A single tear trickled down her Grandmother’s wrinkled face. “Yes, dear. She had.”
Elizabeth stayed in the hospital for weeks. “There is definitely something unusual, however we can’t seem to find out what,” the doctors would say. Elizabeth often woke up in the middle of the night screaming, “DON’T EAT ME! DON’T EAT ME!” When her grandmother asked her to explain what she saw and comforted her. “It’s just a nightmare, dear. Now, darling, what happened in the dream that made you so terrified?” Each nightmare was different, however; there was always something about a golden monster that had an elephant’s head, a lion’s body, an eagle’s wings, and much more. Elizabeth would repeat again and again, “It wanted to eat me! It really, really wanted to eat me!” She burst into tears.
After a while of peculiar nightmares, when she was sent to bed by her nurse, she would keep crying, “Bedtime is scary!” Her grandmother had to coax her for over an hour to make her tired. Anxiety invaded her grandmother’s mind, and she was starting to worry. These nightmares that Elizabeth was having weren't “just a nightmare”, like she kept telling her. There was something terribly wrong, and she had to find out.
Her grandmother journeyed into a forest. She had heard of the magical dancing willow that could cure the most deplorable case of the nightmares. However, when she arrived at the forest, what she saw immediately appalled her. The golden monster Elizabeth had spoken of was in the willow tree forest! The magical dancing willow tree was having struggles attacking the monster. All the broken pieces fit together, all of a sudden. Elizabeth was only having nightmares because the dancing willow’s power was weakened. Elizabeth’s grandmother was persistent to help the dancing willow tree.
Immediately, she sprang into action. She grabbed the monster by its golden tail. “CRRREEEHHH!!!” The monster had a terrible shriek. The sound pierced her ears and she fell to the dusty soil. Wobbling, she ran towards the monster. “CHARGE! HAYAH!” With a mighty battle cry, Elizabeth’s grandmother managed to pull out some of the creature’s fur. “YEOW!” the golden monster howled in pain. Once an old, chubby grandmother became a great hunter. “Hayah! Take that! And that! YAH!!!”
Finally, with the creature injured and frail, She jumped as high as she could, grabbed the dancing willow tree’s largest and sharpest branch, and pierced through the creature’s fur and skin-- right to the bone. With one last painful cry, the creature lay unconsciously, swallowed by the soil. He was never to be seen again.
The willow tree honored Elizabeth’s grandmother for saving it’s strength. She “handed” her a leaf, and instructed, “Once you squeeze it, its liquid will be visible. Have the victim of Velocin drink it. The victim will soon recover.”
“Wait-- that monster’s name is Velocin?”
“Yes, but he is not a monster. He is an Elegriffin.”
“Elegriffin. An elephant mixed with a griffin. Elegriffins are known to be very diabolical. The legend says that they detested their food and they love to consume dancing willow tree leaves, which also makes them very happy.”
“Oh, well thank you, and that’s nice to know.”
“You are welcome, wise woman. Thank you, again. No one has ever saved me before, and I thought the power of the dancing willow will vanish forever. I owe you all.”
The dancing willow tree’s colours faded into a normal tree, and it stopped dancing. It is only alive when you truly need it.
I think you’ve already guessed what happened. Yes, Elizabeth drank the liquid and recovered.
Living dancingly willow after.
Sixteen years later… (In Elizabeth’s perspective)
Why hello! My name’s Elizabeth, and I expect you know me? Very well then, I was quite popular. Once my beloved grandmother saved me from Velocin, it was all over the newspaper! I wish I will never see Velocin again.
Unfortunately and very, very sadly, my beloved grandmother passed away a few years ago. Every year on her birthday, we put candles and willow tree leaves in front of her picture. I talk to her, explaining how much I miss her and wish that she liked the willow tree leaves. Moreover, I put a stack of her favorite saltine crackers and I would imagine her consuming a few.
It’s always hard for someone when you lose a relative, you know? Yes, it is VERY. VERY. VERY SAD.
It’s even hard for Velocin (although I wonder if he has any relatives). I often think of him and how sad he would be if one of his relatives passed away. Even sinister villains like him can be extremely sad.
I work at a nursery, and often tell the children there about my story (I leave out the Velocin part. I don't want them to be afraid). They always clap their teensy hands playfully and the headmistress tells me that I have an excellent story.
New childrens’ caregivers often stare at me in awe. “That’s Elizabeth,” they would whisper. I’m used to it. Some people say, “What a story, Elizabeth. You have such an imagination.” I’m tired of correcting people about it being true. I just let it flow by. Why let a little problem affect my daily life?
There are so many more positive things than negative things. Why purposely think negative when the positive is obviously calling you over?
Sure, negative things make you furious, or even heartbroken. But if you’re focusing on that, I won’t make you change your mind. It’s not a very splendid idea, though, just saying.
So if you’re on Team Positive, straighten up. Most of all, think about the dancing willow. Honor it, for you may need it one day.