Somewhere in the canyons, over the ridges and sands, there was a house. It was not the type of house one would expect to find in the middle of nowhere. A two-story, four bed and two bath home that was painted a sky blue, it had small windows with white trimmed shutters, a long porch and a fat, blue front door. It was neat, trimmed, clean. Around it sat a perfect ring of emerald-green grass enclosed with a white picket fence. The whole property sat between two gigantic trees, all perched on the top of a cliff overlooking the biggest canyon you’ve ever seen. Even though they lived a way away from any other human soul, there was running water and electricity. They had modern appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioning. Although, the Father had to ride his horse out to town and buy food every Saturday.   

In this lovely home lived a family of four. The working Father, the loving Mother and two twin girls, Tulip and Wesisa, who were always at odds with each other. However, this new argument would spark an adventure that neither would ever forget.


Wesisa was tired of doing dishes, it was all she did. Clean this, cook that! Day and night she worked constantly, or at least that was how it felt to her. 

Wesisa’s sister, Tulip, never helped at all. She just sat on the couch all day and called for water or food, hardly ever rising except to go to the bathroom. 

And after months of this, Wesisa had finally had enough. She marched over to Tulip one particularly exhausting day and demanded to know why she never helped her do the dishes! The weight of all the household chores burdened her shoulders and it was time for her sister to once again share that load. 

“Today is the day that you finally get up, Tulip!” Announced Wesisa. 

“I can’t.” She said without looking at her sister. 

Wesisa put her hands on her hips, “And why not?”

“I was cursed by a cooking pot gremlin.” Tulip said, bouncing her fingers off of each other. 

Wesisa cocked her head confusedly, her sister rolled her eyes. 

“A cooking pot gremlin put a curse on me so I couldn’t do any dishes, or chores. He was really mad that I wasn’t cleaning his house right.” Tulip laid back and ordered Wesisa to get her some ice tea and this time don’t squeeze the entire lemon slice into her cup. 

Wesisa stomped her foot and crossed her arms. 

“You know what, Sis? No, I’m not going to do your chores forever, I will find a cure for you.” She decided. 

“Fine.” Tulip grumbled “I’m bored now anyway.” 

She told Wesisa that she would have to travel into the Boggy-Womp Forest and face many obstacles to find the magic Wogercorn, a flying unicorn frog. He lived in a place called “The Great Toadstool Cavern”.

The Wogercorn would grant her some wishes if she gave it perfectly baked chocolate chip cookies. When the food pleased him, he would spit out some chocolate coins. She would bring the coins back, wish on one of them and then feed it to Tulip, who would be healed immediately. 

Wesisa wasted no time and packed her bag with the following items: Snacks, the chocolate-chip cookies, two thermoses of lemonade (one for her, one for the Wogercorn), her tea set, a change of clothes, flashlight, chewing gum, a sleeping bag, first aid kit, her extra lucky rabbit foot and some money. At first light, Wesisa would start on her noble, epic and somewhat ridiculous adventure. Right after she got Mom's permission.

"Hey Mother! I'm going on a noble, epic and somewhat ridiculous adventure and I might be gone for a few days!"

"Okay, honey. Be back before dinner, love you!"

Done and done.


Wesisa traveled through the desert for some time, she passed through small canyons, cliffs and hills. She avoided possible snake burrows and always checked the road for bandits. The sun beat down but she knew how to stay hydrated, it was like Wesisa had been born for this! The going was slow, but not too hard.

Eventually she found her way to the Boggy-Womp Forest. It was a huge sea of thick, poky red trees stretching far into the distance. They covered mountains and broke apart only to allow rivers and small lakes to push through. The whole thing was rather daunting. But Wesisa took a deep breath and reminded herself how little chores she’d have to do when she got back home.    

At first it was easy, she picked her way through the trees, drank some lemonade and had a few bites of her sandwich. Then, she ran into some trouble: a raging river. The crystal-clear water churned and sloshed about menacingly, daring her to come in. Wesisa could see no way across, no logs, stones or boats. She sat down to think, when something came out of the water towards her. 

It was a lady with mud for clothes, dripping sand for hair and pale grainy skin dotted with lichens.

“Good morning!” She greeted a startled Wesisa. “And what’s your name?” 

“I’m W-Wesisa. What are you?” 

“Why, I’m a Sand Which!” She said proudly. “And this is my river, the Knile, spelled with a ‘k’.”

A light bulb went off in Wesisa’s head.

“Could you get me across?” She asked.

“Absolutely.” Sandy said. “But only if you can figure out how to make my river bloom.” 

“Uh, what?” 

“I want plants and animals in my river, but I can’t figure out how to get them.” She sighed. 

"Ooo-kay. I'll see what I can do."

Wesisa paced back and forth on the riverbank, not really getting anywhere. She bent down and looked very closely at the water. If she focused hard enough, the riverbed became visible through all the bubbles. It was actually pretty shallow, but there was too much movement. 

“Eurika!” Wesisa shouted, startling the Sand Which. 

“Sandy! I’ve got it! Your river is going too fast. Slow it down and bring soil in so that plants can grow, after that it's only a matter of time before animals come too!” She finished proudly, waving her hands around.

Sandy thought for a moment and then grinned widely. 

“Oh thank you!” She nodded like her head was coming loose. Her fingers snapped and a land bridge spread across the river. 

Wesisa shouted a thanks, then skipped across to the other side. 

All in a day’s work. She thought happily.    


Wesisa continued on her quest and, after the Sand Witch, was undisturbed for the rest of the day. At sunset, she found a quiet, lakeside spot to settle down in. 

Just when she had found a place to take out her sleeping bag and start a fire, there was a noise in the distance. Wesisa froze and listened… gun shots. And they were headed this way! She quickly hid in some bushes and waited. (Wesisa tried not to rock back and forth, but come on! Why does one always have to pee at the most exciting and inconvenient moments?)

A minute later, five horses came charging onto the bank. They carried the most bizarre cowboys that Wesisa had ever seen. Five orange, human-sized lizards sat on the saddles, waving pistols around in their leather-gloved hands. They had genes, spurred boots, button up shirts, handkerchiefs tied around their necks and, most importantly, cowboy hats. 

Around in a circle they rode, shooting into the air and hollering like crazy yodelers. Horses rearing and a-neighing. 

“Aaaaaand halt!” The tallest lizard shouted.

Immediately, the riders stopped their horses and stood in a perfect circle. 

“Diiiiiismount!” The tall one said again. 

Each of the lizard riders hopped down and led their horse to a different tree in order to tie them up. One of them was moving in Wesisa’s direction. It was now or never. She pushed herself out of the bushes noisily. Every pistol instantly trailed on her. 

“Uh, erm. Hello?” Wesisa greeted nervously. 

“Friend or foe?” The tallest lizard asked. 

“Ahem. Friend, I think.” 

The tallest lizard put his pistol back in his pocket, the others followed suit. 

“Well, good. Ma name is Deck.” He reached out a hand and Wesisa took it, his head bent down and shot a very long tongue out, grazing Wesisa’s hand before sucking back into Deck’s mouth. He smiled and let go, she chuckled nervously.

He was tall, wore a faded red shirt, suspenders and ripped jeans  

“Let ma crew introduce themsaylves.” Deck gestured to the other lizards. In turn they each said their name, but thankfully did not lick Wesisa’s hand. 

Mane had a handkerchief made of white and black spotted cow hide that matched his buttons, Slinger had a gray handkerchief and waistcoat, Beans was plump-bellied and had a soft red hat and shirt. Then, finally, there was Strum, who wore an orange handkerchief to match his boots. He had a guitar slung over his back. 

“And togetha, we are the:” Deck raised his pistol and together the lizards said:

“Iguana-Dawn Gang!” Before running in a circle shooting and shouting again. 

Wesisa tucked her blue skirt down and seated herself on the sand. She waited patiently and allowed them to finish… whatever that business was.  

Deck screeched to a stop in front of her and raised his leather-gloved hands dramatically. 

 “We are thee most dangerous gang of the whole Boggy-Womp Forest!” Deck brought out a second pistol and then the crew really went all out with their running and hollering and shooting. 

After a second, he stopped once again and continued. 

“Feared reptiles that only come out at dawn!” He gestured to the setting sun and was about to run around again, when Wesisa intervened.

“Pardon me, but doesn’t dawn happen in the morning? It seems to me that right now is dusk.” She waited for an answer, but each lizard had frozen mid pose and now seemed to be thinking very hard. Deck put his hands on his hips and turned to Strum, a few feet away.

“Struuuuum! You was supposed to come up with a good name! We ain’t even been comin’ out at the right bloomin’ time a day!” He stomped and flicked his tail around frustratedly. 

Strum pulled his guitar around and hugged it tightly.

“Sorry, Deck. I’ll get on that royt away.” He said quietly. 

“Well you better!” Growled Deck. He walked over to Wesisa and actually shook her hand this time. 

“We thank ya kindly, miss. Thank gooness you caught that mistake before we ‘ad made a real fool of arselves.”

Wesisa considered their running and yodeling, but just nodded her head and said your welcome. 

“Why don’tcha stay awhile? I’ll make some nice soup and Strum can sing us a song!” Beans suggested. 

“Oh, alright.” Wesisa agreed. 

They all began their work. Beans started his cooking, Mane tended to the horses, Slinger polished everyone’s pistols and Deck sat down to smoke his pipe.

The evening was nice, they ate their fill of delicious wild west gumbo and listened to Strum sing “Oh My Darling Clementine” amongst other songs. 

After dinner, the lizards played some card games. Wesisa learned that Deck got his name because cards were his game (yes, that was his rhyme). He could shuffle two whole decks in five different ways in under 8 seconds and could fling individual cards at his teammates with the accuracy of throwing stars. His handiwork was mesmerizing.

Then of course there was Slinger, whose talent was slingin’ guns. His most amazing trick was when he flipped two coins in the air, shot each and then caught them on the barrel of his gun.

That night, after all the party tricks, each one cozied up in their sleeping rolls and watched the magnificent starry sky twinkle above them. The trees rustling in the breeze and the gentle shush of sand blowing across the lake was beautiful enough to sing them all into a relatively undisturbed slumber. (Mane kept mumbling about horses in his sleep and Deck was a pretty loud snorer)

Wesisa heartily regretted telling the “Iguana-Dawn Gang” what time of day to come out at because right when the sun crested its hills, the lizards sprang up and did their crazy loud routine. Gunshots and screeches unpleasantly echoed across the plains. A flock of birds exploded from their roost about half a mile away. 

Wesisa grudgingly rose from bed and repacked her blanket. She went to the lake and used a water bottle to brush her teeth. Absentmindedly, she glanced up, but gasped at the site above her. 

The sky was the color of sunburned grapefruit. Fluffy clouds a shade of light pink drifted in tuffets, each boasting a literal silver lining on their silhouette. This was spectacular on its own, but then the sun fully rose over the horizon and sent beams of gold shooting across the sky like uniformed fireworks. All the colors reflected onto the ground and caused the dull red sand to light up as glowing embers from a fire. 

For a moment Wesisa thought she would go blind by the sight before her, but as quickly as it had come, the gold, pink and ruby disappeared. She had to blink a few times in order for the world to go from black and white to its original colors. Wow.

“So, where are you off to, Wesisa m’lady?” Deck had snuck up next to her. 

“Well, I’m headed to The Great Toadstool Cavern so I can find the Wogercorn. I need him to use his magic to heal my lazy Sister.” Wesisa rolled her eyes when she remembered how much trouble she was going through just for Tulip. 

Deck’s face lit up.

“Oh! We know where that is!” He said happily. “We’d gladly take ya there, if ya wont.” 

Wesisa said that would be a big help and she’d most gratefully take their offer. 

Deck and his crew quickly saddled up for the journey. It was odd, though, they were tying the horses in a line, bumper to bumper. 

“There we go!” Mane helped Wesisa climb up behind him on his horse. 

“Now, we is traveling by color, so you best hold on tight!” Deck hollared from in front of the line.

He brought out a bottle of red something or other, uncorked it and waved it around behind him. The stuff floated through the air like a mist and settled over the whole horse train. 

“Rrrrrready?!” Yelled Deck. 

“Ready!” The lizards shouted back. 

Deck cracked his reigns and the group sped forward. The world became a blur and the wind rushed past Wesisa’s face. She looked around and realized that they were going so fast that the horses were actually running over the lake. A second later they went up and down a mountain so quickly that Wesisa was sure she left her stomach sprawled on a rock somewhere. The sound of the horses hooves blended into one continuous beat and just when she thought she couldn’t hold on another second, they stopped. Everyone leaned forward as their momentum level dropped. They all took a deep breath in, whew! 

“Here we are, little lady.” Deck tipped his hat to her as Wesisa slipped down off the horse, still a little wobbly. 

“We sure did like meetin’ you!” Slinger smiled. 

Each lizard bid her goodbye, then shot their pistols into the air, yee-hawed! And then used the color to zip away faster than she could say “thank you”.  

Wesisa turned, she was standing at the mouth of a huge cave, it had a long and surprisingly well-lit tunnel, shafts of light broke through the ceiling. A huge boulder sat to the right of the opening, it had some writing on it that said: To The Giant Toadstool Cavern, under it was an arrow pointing to the cave. This was it. She had found the home of the Wogercorn. 

Wesisa stumbled along in the half dark cave, occasionally tripping on a rock. Along the walls, she noticed that red mushrooms with white spots were getting more frequent. At first it was just one here and there, next they came in thick bunches and finally they coated the walls.

When she stepped on one, it squished beneath her and let out a thick, red, sweet-smelling syrup. Wesisa leaned down and touched the stuff, then put a small bit on her tongue. Huh, strawberry! She picked up another mushroom and bit into it, delicious! Like a sweet-bread with jam filling. Now, Wesisa knew she probable shouldn't be eating a strange mushroom she found on the cave floor, but she was a nine-year-old girl essentially surrounded by cake. What did you think was gonna happen?  

Wesisa got to the end of the tunnel and turned, there was the center of the cave. Before her was a large cavern, a huge hole in the ceiling let a spotlight come down on the centerpiece of the scene: a red and white spotted toadstool as big as a two story house. ‘Round it was a big mound of moss covered stone, wet from all the water dripping off the ceiling. A stream enclosed the giant toadstool’s island and only a large log served as a bridge. 

Wesisa carefully made her way across and washed the jelly off her face before climbing the hill toward the toadstool. There, sitting in the hollow trunk of the mushroom, sat the Wogercorn. He was sleeping, folded down with eyes closed, croaking every time it breathed out. A huge, slimy, lime-green frog with long white wings and a tall unicorn horn jutting from its forehead. 

“Excuse me?” Wesisa said, creeping forward. 

The Wogercorn opened one eye and looked out at her. Then, he sat up and in one jump, came out of the mushroom.

“Good day.” He greeted in a low, croaky voice. 

“I’ve, um. I’ve come to ask for your chocolate coins.” Wesisa said. The Wogercorn nodded to her backpack. 

“Oh, yes. I brought some cookies.” She knelt down and dug through her backpack, pulling out a tin and handing it to the Wogercorn. 

He struggled for a minute or two, trying to open the container, but slipping and sliding. He huffed and pushed the tin back to her.

“Would you kindly open this?” He snapped. 

Wesisa giggled to herself, popped off the lid and passed the tin back.

With his long tongue, the Wogercorn ate all the cookies in one gulp. He chewed, considering the flavor, mm-hmm and uh-hu-ing. Finally, he swallowed and spoke as if he were on some sort of food judging show. 

“Good texture, slightly underdone, too-sweet chocolate chips…” He paused for dramatic effect. “No, this will not do.” The Wogercorn yawned.

“What do you mean it won’t do?” Wesisa crossed her arms. 

“I am not satisfied with your cookies. No wishes for you today.” He said bordly.

“But-but I came all this way and-” Wesisa protested. 

“No buts, I dislike your offering and that’s that.” He gave her a humph! Sort of nod. 

Wesisa felt her anger bubbling up inside. She came across the entire dessert to see this guy and the stuck up pig wouldn’t even give her a few chocolate coins?!

She reached for the nearest thing in her bag that she could throw at him and her fingers wrapped around the solid metal canteen. Wesisa hurled it at the Wogercorn’s face with all her might and it caught him right in the mouth. He stumbled for a second, then swallowed something and spit the canteen back out. A blissful smile slid across his face. 

“Why that, that was the most amazing, dazzling and refreshing drink I’ve ever tasted!” He announced to Wesisa’s shock.

"Oh. Oh! The lemonade!" She remembered.

A second later, he burped and a handful of chocolate coins sat at Wesisa’s feet. She couldn’t stop smiling as she loaded them into her backpack. 

“In fact, I’ll even fly you back home!” The Wogercorn said. 

And that was how Wesisa came to be riding on a magical, flying unicorn frog’s back through the clouds. Below, they passed over the Boggy-Womp forest, the lake and once she thought she saw the Iguana-Dawn Gang. It was all in all a pleasant ride, save the one time she almost slid off his slimy back.

Wesisa barely remembered to say thank you as it landed in front of her house before flying off. 

“OH TULIP!!!” Wesisa shouted as she ran through the front door. Of course her sister was napping heavily on the couch, the bum didn’t even wake up when she shouted at her. 

Wesisa took the chocolate coin out of her backpack and made a wish on it. 

I want my sister to be able to do her chores again. 

She peeled the golden foil off and shoved it into Tulip’s mouth. Her sister woke up coughing and choking, but had no choice but to swallow it. 

“What was that?!” She yelled. 

“Hey Tulip, go do the dishes.” Wesisa grinned. 

Tulip was about to protest that she couldn’t, but was surprised to find herself walking toward the kitchen. 

Wesisa kicked back against the couch cushions and listened to the gentle sound of plates clinking and sink water running. Her sister could finally help her do the dishes. 

"Until the cooking pot gremlin returned!" Tulip brought out a ball of lint and waved it her doll-girl's face.

"What? Nuh-uh!" Wesisa grabbed the plastic frog with taped-on paper wings and made it attack the gremlin.

"But the Wogercorn saved her, the END!" She shouted.

The girls laughed for a minute on their bedroom floor.

"Ah! Your messing up the Boggy-Womp forest!" Wesisa said as Tulip's foot bumped the paper trees.                       

"Okay, now I want to do the Iguana's voices this time." Tulip grabbed the rubber lizards.

"Alright, alright. Lets just start over, you go." Wesisa moved the doll-girls around in their miniature house.

"Mm-kay." Tulip cleared her throat. "Somewhere in the canyons, over the ridges and sands, there was a house..."

January 16, 2020 02:12

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