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Win a Fairy Godmother

Lorella was the oldest student in the Fairy Godmother School. She longed to graduate and have a practice of her own. But she had been failing Elementary Magic I for nearly three hundred years now. Somehow her spells never seemed to work properly. When she tried to remove a wart from a little boy's finger, she turned him into a toad. When a little girl left a tooth under her pillow, Lorella tried to change it into a coin. But a dragon appeared instead.

Every day Lorella practiced her spells. Finally she passed her exam in elementary magic. Now she could go out into the world as an apprentice Fairy Godmother.

Lorella set off down the road from the school, in search of someone who might need her help. After a time she came to a small village. A crowd was gathered in the village square. The people were staring at a large sign board that read: RAFFLE TODAY. Three prizes were listed: First Prize -- a horse and carriage. Second Prize -- a cow. Third Prize -- a chicken. "Hmmm," thought Lorella.

"Here's my chance. I think I'll be the first prize." She raised her magic wand and pointed it at the sign. There was a flash of light, and words appeared at the bottom of the list (in very small print): Booby Prize -- a Fairy Godmother.

Just then a man stepped up to the platform. He reached into a bucket and pulled out the numbers for the first, second, and third prize winners. The winners proudly led their prizes away. Lorella waited hopefully. But the man was about to leave the platform.

"Sir," she called out shyly. "There's another prize."

The man was puzzled. He peered at the sign, shrugged, and pulled another number out of the bucket. "142," he shouted.

"It's me! It's me!" called a boy. He limped up to the platform on crutches. "Where is the prize?"

"Here I am!" Lorella cooed. "A genuine fairy godmother. Here's my diploma." She reached into her bag and pulled out a sheet of paper.

"Shopping list?" the boy read.

Lorella quickly snatched it back and searched through her bag until she found the right paper.

"It says you can do magic!" the boy exclaimed. "Oh, make my legs strong and straight, so that I can walk and run again!"

"Right away!" Lorella promised, and touched him with her magic wand. In an instant his legs were strong and straight -- all four of them. He had turned into a donkey!

"Oh, dear," said Lorella. "I seem to have done something wrong. I'll just try again." She raised her magic wand. But before she could touch him, the donkey gave a frightened "Hee-haw" and dashed away down the road.

Lorella set off down the road after him. Near a grove of trees at some distance from the village, she met an old man.

"Oh," the old man was moaning. "My poor feet! My shoes are full of holes!"

"I'll just give him a new pair of shoes," Lorella thought, and tapped the old man on the shoulder with her magic wand. Instantly his shoes disappeared, but his ragged clothes suddenly turned into a princely suit of satin and velvet. He stared at her for a moment, then hobbled off barefoot down the road.

Two thieves were hiding in the trees, hoping to ambush a rich traveler. They were amazed to see the magic that Lorella worked on the old man. Quickly they rushed out to meet her.

"That was a wonderful thing you did!" one of the thieves began.

"I should have tapped him on the foot," Lorella said, thoughtfully.

The thief stared for a moment. Then he asked, "Could you do something for us?" As Lorella nodded eagerly, he scooped up a handful of pebbles from the road. "Turn these into gold coins!" he demanded.

Lorella touched the pebbles with her magic wand, and they turned into...jewels! Sparkling diamonds, and rubies, and sapphires.

"Wow!" yelled the thieves.

Before Lorella knew what had happened, one of the thieves grabbed her, and the other whipped out a coil of rope and tied her arms to her sides. He slung her up over his back, and the two thieves started off down the road.

Lorella was a heavy bundle, and the thief who was carrying her was soon complaining bitterly. Just then they spotted a donkey on the road. They caught him and tied the Fairy Godmother onto his back. Then they led him to their hideout in the woods.

At the thieves' camp, Lorella wept. They fed her, but they would not untie her hands. And one of the thieves held onto her magic wand. At last they lay down to sleep.

Suddenly Lorella felt something tickling her arm. It was the donkey. He was gnawing at the ropes. Soon she was free. In the light of the campfire, she stared at him. "Why, you're the boy who won me in the raffle!" she exclaimed.

Quickly Lorella tiptoed over to the sleeping thieves and took back her wand and bag. Then she climbed on the donkey's back, and he trotted off.

When they were safely away, Lorella and the donkey stopped to rest by a little pond. "Now I must do something about my mistake!" the Fairy Godmother said. She touched the donkey with her wand, and at once he was a strong and handsome man.

"Oh dear," said Lorella, "I seem to have made you a little too old."

"That's all right," said the man, gazing at his reflection in the moonlit pond. "I'm fine now."

But Lorella thought, as she bade him farewell, "I wonder if I ought to take Elementary Magic I over again."


©1973, 2013 The Silversteins