Purple Ribbon

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Children Stories  |  House: Footsteps, yarns and little fibs

A girl loses her ribbon and an adventure ensues.

Submitted: July 05, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 05, 2018



Nettie just loved the purple ribbon her Aunty Freda had given her and she invented many ways to tie her long, black hair with it. She also like to look in the mirror to admire it. One summer’s day, she was ever so sad, because somehow she had misplaced her ribbon and was getting no sympathy!

‘Why are you so upset over a silly ribbon?’ her mother laughed.

‘Humph,’ mumbled her father, ‘you must have put it somewhere! Always careless you are!’ He added grumpily.

‘Well I didn’t touch it!’ exclaimed Amee, her young sister, who was used to getting the blame for everything.

Nettie thought nobody cared about her pretty ribbon, so with a tear in her eye, she went outside intending to play on the swing. But just where the stone yard met the grass, a bumblebee buzzed onto an orange flower startling her! She lost her balance and fell headfirst into the grass! As she fell, it wasn’t the grass she was falling into, but an empty snail shell! Time passed slowly as she fell! What was happening?  She closed her eyes, expecting a thud when she landed, but it was soft. She opened her eyes to see she was standing in what seemed to be a corridor of mother-of-pearl like the inside of an oyster shell.

‘There it is!’ Nettie heard Amee’s shout, and was surprised to see that Amee had followed her!

‘There’s what?’ Nettie asked absentmindedly, because questions were buzzing around in her head.

‘Your ribbon, you’re wearing it!’ pointed Amee.

Nettie felt her hair and the ribbon!

Well that was strange, but so was their predicament, how come they were inside a snail shell! Was she dreaming? There was bright light behind them, so Nettie knew that was the way out, but they could hear muffled noises ahead and the oyster shell colour of the corridor had its own, opaque welcoming light. It seemed to be inviting the girls to go ahead, so they did, always the corridor turned to the left. The girls had the distinct feeling that as they went further into the shell, they were becoming smaller.

The bends in the corridor became tighter, suddenly the girls saw a tiny village ahead! It was an old fashioned village with real people and animals. Nettie looked around for a castle or a fort, but there were just houses and shops.

As they approached, a few people noticed them and came running to greet them. The adults were about as big as Amee, so Nettie was a mini-giant to them! Their voices were deeper than Nettie and Amee’s and they repeated the last part of their sentences all the time!

‘You are welcome to Mollusk,’ beamed a bearded man, ‘strangers are always welcome, always welcome!’

‘Who are you, are you?’ asked a small girl who came up to Nettie’s knee.

‘I’m Nettie and this is my sister, Amee.’ Nettie replied formally.

The bearded man, who wore big boots, and blue trousers, spoke to the girls in his deep voice.

‘Come on over to the inn, the inn.’ He invited. ‘There will be tea and scones for you, for you!’

‘Oh we’re not staying,’ replied Nettie, ‘anyway, we have no money to buy food.’

‘You must stay, must stay.’ Beamed the man, ‘The food is free, everything is free here, all is free, all is free!’

‘I am hungry!’ said Amee, so it was settled, they crossed the cobbles to the inn.

The inn was called Muncher’s, there was a counter, with a mirror behind and six sets of tables and chairs. The girls were just able to squeeze into their chairs. It was dim inside and it took a little while for Nettie and Amee to be able to see properly. A man called Sam was playing a tune on a piano, a mournful tune, and a man with in a dirty white suit, and a hat told him to play it again, and again.

The bearded man sat down with Nettie and Amee and presently a nice young woman, dressed in a yellow pinafore stood beside Nettie to take their order. It was then that Nettie realized that everyone, except the man who wanted the tune played again, was wearing yellow, blue or red! That is except for the boy in the corner she just noticed, he had a green top and brown trousers. He had pointy ears, a pixie nose, rosy cheeks and wore pointed, green boots! Amee noticed that the boy seemed to be scowling into the pink glass that he was drinking from.

‘Why is that boy not happy?’ she asked the bearded man. ‘Everyone else here seem to be happy. Why not him?’

‘Oh he’s a stranger, a stranger.’ Replied the bearded man. ‘He’s lost his way, his way.’

‘Have not!’ The boy called out in a high-pitched voice. ‘You have drugged and imprisoned my dragon and you know I can’t leave without him!’

‘The dragon breathes fire, breathes fire!’ The beaded man’s face became even redder. ‘We can’t have a fire here, so he’s in the Cave of Doom, of Doom!’

‘Saurus Rex, that’s his name, he won’t do any harm, he protects me but he does as I tell him, he’s faithful!’ protested the boy.

‘Take no notice of him, of him!’ Said the bearded man. ‘Drink your dock-leaf tea, tea and eat up your scone, your scone!’

Politely Nettie and Amee drank their dock-leaf tea and nibbled on their scone with most of the village people watching them through the windows. Soon the bearded man fell into a deep sleep. Did Nettie notice the girl in the yellow pinafore put some drops from a blue vial in his tea? She was sure the boy had looked into her eyes and given it to her, but she had said nothing, yet the girl seemed to do his bidding.

The boy came to their table, and said to Nettie and Amee, ‘I am Lumio Sower of Seeds, I am an Inspiration Sprite, I ride my dragon near and yon sowing my idea-seeds into fertile minds. May they all germinate!

‘This shell drew us in, by what force I know not, but we are entrapped! The people fear my dragon so they drugged and took him to the Cave of Doom. You too are trapped here forever unless we all ride out of here together, on my dragon!’

‘But the…’ Nettie didn’t know what to say and felt a little afraid, Amee suddenly gripped her hand. ‘How do we ride a… dragon?’ She finally asked.

‘We go to the Cave of Doom to give Saurus Rex the antidote.’ Replied Lumio.

‘The Cave of Doom!’ exclaimed Nettie. ‘That sounds a scary place!’

‘Pshaww!’ brushed off Lumio. ‘An ancient name of no substance!’

‘Well what’s the antidote?’ asked Nettie.

‘There’s a special and rare plant. It only grows in the rocks and there’s a plant above to cave entrance. Even when we have the plant, we must make the potion carefully and properly.’

‘What do we do with it? Asked Amee, not wanting to be forgotten.

‘Bring your cup,’ replied Lumio, ‘you’re going to need it! We must hurry!’

Bemused, the crowd didn’t try to stop them, they parted to allow the three to run up the hill towards the Cave of Doom! The people were too afraid to follow.

They reached the cave and Lumio pointed up to the rocks above the cave opening.

‘There’s the plant,’ he said, ‘but I can’t reach it, the rock is too smooth.’ He looked at Nettie’s purple ribbon. ‘May I use your purple ribbon?’ Lumio asked.

Nettie touched her prize ribbon and though of losing it again, but if it was the only way out…‘Ok,’ she conceded, ‘here.’ She untied it and handed it to him.

Lumio scrunched the ribbon into his closed fist, using his other hand, he reached in with his finger and thumb to catch an end. He pulled and he pulled and he pulled and he pulled until there were at least six metres of ribbon. He tied one end to a large, flat rock and threw it up towards the plant. To Nettie and Amee, the rock seemed to fly exactly in the right direction and it lodged firmly in a crack between some rocks.

Lumio nimbly climbed the ribbon, selected pieces of the plant and brought them back down.

‘Can I have my ribbon back now?’ asked Nettie, concerned.

‘I’m afraid not,’ replied Lumio gravely, ‘we have to leave a gift for this plant as it is special, it is a small price to pay for what we want – our freedom.’

Nettie sadly accepted, she felt a bit creepy about it, but all she really wanted was to return safely home with Amee.

‘Now Amee,’ Lumio crouched to be at eye-level with her, ‘I need you to chew this plant. Don’t swallow, spit the juice into your cup.’

Amee was wide-eyed with surprise because at home she wasn’t allowed to spit! 

‘Amee, this is fixit nettle,’ Lumio explained, ‘it will taste very bitter and you will want to spit it out – or be sick. It will make your tongue feel numb. But you must be brave and chew it for as much as you can!’

‘Why can’t you do it then?’ Nettie stuck up for her sister.

‘Because the antidote will only work if it has been chewed with baby teeth, you, Nettie have some adult teeth and all mine are senior too! Amee is our only chance.’

‘You will have to do it in three mouthfuls, Amee.’ Instructed Lumio as he broke the plant into three and handed her the first third. Amee looked frightened and she shook, but she bravely put the plant in her mouth and began chewing with screwed up eyes. She had tasted some yukky medicine, but this was worse and the inside of her mouth was on fire, even worse than the day she ate a whole red chili! Nettie made silly faces at her to try to take her mind off the taste and the growing numbness! Amee spat into the cup and Lumio was pleased that it was just liquid. He gave her the second third and she hesitated, feeling sick, but she shoved the piece into her mouth and chewed hurriedly, knowing the quicker this was over the better. The third piece included the flower and it tasted even worse, she felt like being sick and whimpered, but forced it back down. Finally the cup was full of spitty-juice.

Lumio took the cup and reached into his pouch and produced a green, fresh leaf.

‘Chew on that, it will make you feel better.’ He coaxed. ‘You have done well young Amee! Thank you!’

The leaf was cool and soothing, with a taste of spearmint and of clover honey. She was totally refreshed.

The dragon wasn’t as big as Nettie had imagined, more like the size of a pony but with a very long neck and an even longer, barbed tail. He was as black as coal and each of his scales had glow that was slightly different to the others. He seemed to be snoring. Despite Lumio’s assurances that Saurus Rex was harmless, the girls were quite frightened.

‘H-h-how do we give him the juice?’ stuttered Nettie.

‘Saurus Rex and his kind do not eat,’ explained Lumio, ‘they can breathe out fire, but seldom become angry. Their energy comes from the sun through their scales and they store it in their body.’ The lesson ended, Lumio became serious. ‘We will rub the antidote onto the scales of his head, and one quarter of the juice is put into his ear!’

‘His ear!’ exclaimed Amee. ‘He won’t like that!’

‘No,’ replied Lumio, ‘there’s some danger there. He might buck and kick violently, so you will have to be off him quickly!’

‘What do you mean, we?’ asked a concerned Nettie. ‘We thought you would apply the antidote!’

‘No, it’s all a matter of timing.’ Explained Lumio. ‘You two will have to rub the juice in quickly but gently. The moment you finish applying yours. I will pour in the rest, you will have a few seconds.’

All three climbed upon the dragon, Nettie and Amee, most carefully. Nettie had thought the scales would be hard like armour, but no, they we soft like the padding on their trampoline and they were slippery.  The girls rubbed the juice into the scales around the dragon’s head, over his eyebrows and were surprised it didn’t sting their hands, in fact it felt cool.

‘Enough! Climb down, quickly now!’ Called Lumio.

Nettie and Amee quickly dismounted, but Amee was a second too slow! The dragon bucked violently and kicked out, sending Amee high into the air!

‘Ohhhh!’ she cried. But she never hit the ground! She fell into the soft, welcoming paws of the dragon! Lumio was safe too, it turned out he had wings of his own! Immediately the dragon was aroused he saw the danger Amee was in and he reached out to save her!

‘You have… you didn’t need… wings…my ribbon!’ Nettie couldn’t quite get it all out.

Saurus Rex my friend, welcome back!’ said Lumio to the dragon. ‘Quickly, you must carry us all to the entrance, there you must stop to allow the girls to dismount.’

Hurriedly the three climbed onto the dragon’s neck with Lumio in front. The takeoff was so smooth the girls didn’t realize they were on their way. They flew over the village with the village folk waving to them. Wishing them well? Perhaps.

They flew along the mother-of-pearl corridor, Saurus Rex’s wings nearly touching the sides. He stopped, well not stopped, he hovered, as instructed just a little before the entrance.

‘When you step out,’ Lumio told the girls, ‘you will quickly return to your normal size, this is the size Saurus Rex and I have always been. We are so small, we are seldom seen, if you tell what you have seen, nobody will believe.’ A warning or advice, it didn’t matter. ‘This is farewell, and my thanks go to you both! I will sow some seeds for you sometime. Goodbye….!’

The last Nettie and Amee saw of Lumio and Saurus Rex was of them flying into an orange light! Nettie and Amee held hands and stepped out of the snail shell into a brilliant sunset. They felt a tingly feeling as they returned to their normal size.

‘Look!’ said Amee. ‘Your purple ribbon!’

Sure enough, at Nettie’s feet there was her purple ribbon!

‘And you,’ exclaimed Nettie, ‘you have a red one tying your hair!’

They both looked in the direction Lumio and the dragon had gone. They will kept their ribbons forever. And would have an idea or two in the future!

© Copyright 2019 moa rider. All rights reserved.

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