The Stolen Stories

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A simple story very loosely based on Anansi (/??n??nsi/ ?-NAHN-see) an African folktale character. He often takes the shape of a spider, but not always and not here in this story. He is considered to be the spirit of all knowledge of stories.

Submitted: September 19, 2016

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Submitted: September 19, 2016

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In the woods near the village of Anansia lived many creatures, one of which was called The Great Smudge, a devious and treacherous creature for his somewhat small size. He was feared by many and hated by all.

 

"Oh great Smudge, I wish an audience with you,” yelled Screech the Chimpanzee.

 

The Great Smudge replied, "Yes, yes, what is it Screech?"

 

"My children want me to tell them bedtime stories, but you have taken all of the stories for yourself. Please return the stories so that our children will go to sleep," Screech begged.

 

"Stories, stories, you want stories? I'll tell you what I want! I want Truth to be returned to me, it was taken by that Barter-snake. Go and find that Barter-snake and the Truth, and then return Truth to me first," Smudge demanded.

 

"Will you give back the stories if I return Truth?" Screech questioned.

 

"Sure, sure, I'll return them all," Smudge said while crossing his toes behind his back.

 

So Screech went here and there, finally finding the Barter-snake way up in a Flimflam Tree.

 

"Barter-snake, I wish an audience with you," Screech yelled loudly.

 

"Can't you see that I am very busy with my tree-hanging? GO AWAY," Replied Barter-snake.

 

Screech the Chimpanzee became very upset and started flipping over backward, over and over he flipped, while making a terribly load screeching sound.

After a while Screech finally calmed down and said, "You are not busy and you cannot say that you are busy because you now are the keeper of Truth. As long as you have Truth then you cannot tell a lie; so you cannot say things like (you are very busy) when you are clearly not busy at all."

 

The Barter-snake hissed a load and spit-tossing hiss and questioned, "What do you mean by that, are you saying that I have to tell the truth as long as I am the keeper of Truth?"

 

"That is what the Rules say;" replied Screech, "according to Article Fifty-seven, Section Four, paragraph thirty-one of the Rules and Laws of Keeping Truth. Didn't you read the by-laws in the previous journal before you took the Truth?"

 

The Barter-snake sighed and said, "Well, No, I didn't even know that there was a journal, and that is the Truth, nothing but the Truth, so help me.

I never would have taken Truth if I had known keeping the Truth was going to be so much trouble. What am I going to do now?"

 

Screech replied with a slight smile, "You'd better give me the Truth and I will dispose of it for you. If you give it to me then you won't be responsible for telling the truth any longer."

 

"Why that is a very good idea, here, take it away," Barter-snake said as he dropped a bag from the tree.

 

So Screech took the bag of Truth back to Smudge and asked for the stories that he was promised.

 

I'm not giving you any stories; I lied to get the Truth back. Doing so is like using evil for good, some might say.

So you see, I had no Truth at the time that I told you that I would return the stories, so I had no obligation to tell the truth.

 

Once again, Screech the Chimpanzee became very upset and started flipping over backward while making that terribly load screeching sound. And once again, after he had calmed down he said, "I need stories and I will not be finished until I have them! My poor children have not slept in many a night."

 

"Very well," Smudge stated, "I need something too. Sadrack the Hedge-hog has buried Hope somewhere, but no-one knows where she buried it. Find Sadrack, find hope, and bring it back here to me so that I may release it back into the world. If you do as I say then I will surly give you some stories."

 

"Repeat what you just said with your hand on the Truth-bag and I will go and do as you have asked," replied Screech.

 

So Smudge repeated every word with his hand on the bag, and Screech left.

 

Screech the Chimpanzee found Sadrack living in a wooden bucket that was half-full of dirt and lying on it's side. So Screech asked her, "Where have you burred Hope? Don't you know that the world will be a terrible place without it?

 

"Nonsense!" said Sadrack, "I have had possession of Hope for two weeks and my living situation didn't improve one little bit. This bucket didn't change, it is still a bucket half-full of damp dirt, my food sources haven't improved, and now I am getting a rash from being in this wet environment most of the time."

 

"Don't be silly," replied Screech, "Hope only provides Hope, you must use that Hope to pursue your own goals!"

 

"And how does that work?" asked Sadrack.

 

Screech stated, "I shall not reveal that secret until you dig up Hope and release it. Only then will I be able to show you how hope works. If Hope is buried then telling you what I know won't help you, because Hope is not in the world."

 

Sadrack scratched her head, shrugged her shoulders, and went directly behind her bucket to dig up hope. "There," she said, "Hope is free. Now please tell me your secret."

 

Screech replied, "Move to a dryer place. Now that you have Hope back, you can set out on a Hopeful adventure to find a better home. You may find somewhere where the days are sunnier, where food if plentiful, and somewhere where buckets are not half-full of damp dirt."

 

Sadrack smiled and replied, "I could do that, couldn't I? And I shall! I shall do that before this rash gets any worse; --- Goodbye, goodbye and thank you."

 

And so Sadrack waddled off to unknown but hopeful places, while singing a happy little marching song.

 

Screech returned to the Great Smudge and noted that Hope was now released back into the world. "I wanted Hope brought to me," Smudge yelled, "not released, I was going to do that at some future date, when I felt like it."

 

"That is what I thought," Screech replied. "but the fact is that I did not release Hope, Sadrack released Hope, not I.

"Now keep your promise," said Screech, "and give us back the stories which you have hidden away."

 

Smudge reached into a satchel and pulled out something, then replied, "OK, here you go, two stories."

 

Screech became very upset and started flipping over backward, as he had done many times before; over and over he flipped while making terribly load screeching sounds. When he calmed down he asked, "Why did you lie a second time? You swore on the Truth Bag that you would give me the stories, now you say that I can have only two. What kind of trickery is this?"

 

Smudge replied, "It is not trickery! I did not say that I would return ALL the stories, I said that I would return SOME stories; two or more is some."

 

Screech asked in a telling way, "I suppose that you want something else or you will not give me the rest of the stories. Is that correct?"

 

"You are finally catching on little monkey," Smudge said.

"Now hear me, I want to be among the wisest of the wise. So go to the Black-Capped Owl and take his Black-Cap from him. I am sure that his great wisdom comes from wearing that cap. Bring the Owl’s cap to me so that I may wear it and become among the wisest of the wise."

 

"Very well," Screech said, and he disappeared into the woods.

 

Two risings and settings of the sun have took place, then Screech returned.

 

"Oh great Smudge, I wish an audience with you," yelled Screech the Chimpanzee.

 

"Did you bring the Black-Cap with you?" Smudge questioned.

 

"Oh yes, it is with me," Screech stated as Smudge looked out to see Screech standing on the ground, but he did not have anything in his hands.

 

So Smudge came out of his home and asked, "Where is the Black-Cap, I thought that you said that you had it with you?"

 

"I did, and now he is with you," Screech replied as the Black-Capped Owl swooped in from the branches above. Without a sound the Black-Capped Owl snatched Smudge from his lofty perch, his perch just outside his Rat's nest.

 

"Don't be disheartened Oh Great Smudge," Screech said in a comforting manner, "for today you will be among the wisest of the wise; just as you wanted."

 

With that said Screech scampered to Smudge's former perch and retrieved the stories from that rat’s nest. Screech retrieved all those stories that Smudge had stolen from the world; and of course, he added this story to them.

 

That night, all the animal's children slept soundly, as did the children in the village of Anansia, and the whole world; for Screech had set all the stories free.

 

 

D. Thurmond / JEF --- 09-17-2016


© Copyright 2017 D. Thurmond, aka, JEF. All rights reserved.

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