The Magic HarpThe Magic Harp
Once upon a time there was a farmer who lived on the border of a far away kingdom. He spent his days in the fields, while she tended the animals and her little bakery. They were a lovely couple, always willing to help their neighbors in a time of need. The people of the kingdom loved them dearly, with the exception of one witch who had fallen in love with the farmer, only to be rejected by him for his wife. Jealousy turned to hatred and rage and she captured the couple to turn into monsters.
Sadly, the farmer’s wife was killed during the transformation, while her husband was turned into a hideous dragon. The angry dragon escaped, destroying the witch in the process. For years, the dragon travelled to different witches and wizards, looking for a way to break the spell. Everyone responded with the same response; the spell was for life and couldn't be broken. Each time, the dragon killed the person in a fit of rage.
Eventually, his kindly personality completely changed. All he knew was death and killing. One day, the dragon descended on the kingdom he once loved, with the intention of destroying everything. The dragon killed hundreds as he made his way towards the king’s palace. Desperate to save his family and the rest of the people, the king offered the palace’s housekeeper, a fairy named Alice Riggins, to the dragon, with the promise that she would stay with him until the spell could be broken. Alice was a very powerful fairy, possibly the most powerful in the world. The dragon knew her well from his past. He agreed to take her and leave the kingdom forever, with the promise that he would be left alone until the spell was broken.
The dragon flew up, up, up to the clouds, where he ordered the fairy to build him a sky castle. She did, and they lived there together while the fairy searched for a way to help the dragon.
While the king and his people were mostly happy with the deal, Alice had a son named Maxwell and a beautiful granddaughter named Harmony. Maxwell was the kingdom’s best night and he and Harmony was one of the most beautiful maidens.
Of course, they were not happy with their relative being held hostage in the sky by an evil dragon. Together, they secretly planned to rescue Alice and slay the dragon. Being part fairy, they created a magic bean that grew a gigantic beanstalk that reached the sky. Once the stalk was ready, they climbed all day to reach the clouds.
Once there, they snuck into the castle to look for Alice. But the castle was pitch black. Dragon’s don't need light to see, and he preferred the darkness anyway. They lit a small torch to find the stairs that led up to Alice’s room, but the dragon saw the light and caught them. He wanted to kill them immediately, but Alice came down just in time to stop him. She convinced him to let her spare them and cast a spell on them as punishment for trespassing. He agreed, and Alice turned Maxwell into a great willow tree in front of the castle. As for her granddaughter, she chose to turn her into a solid golden harp that played the most beautiful music in the world.
Now, Alice herself was unsure that she could break the spell that was put upon the dragon. The witch used a very dark magic that she wasn't well familiar with. Terrified that she couldn't break the spell, she secretly made her son’s and granddaughter’s spells able to be broken if a prince of good nature arrived and successfully slayed the dragon.
Hundreds of years went by and dozens of princes, but none were the right prince. The family were starting to grow desperate that they would never be rescued.
It was more than 800 years later that a handsome young prince named Jack heard the story of the beautiful girl who was kidnapped by the evil dragon that lived above his kingdom. An elderly man named Rumpelstiltskin was telling the story one day, to some young children, when the prince’s limo drove past. Rumpelstiltskin was a very small old man, with a long gray beard that nearly reached the ground. Jack liked this old man and had his driver, Humpty Dumpty, stop so he could listen to his story. The driver knew that the boy’s father wanted him home, but also knew that Rumpelstiltskin was famous for attempting to kidnap young children to raise to be robbers. So he agreed to stop. Jack was very interested in what he heard.
“So this girl can only be rescued by a prince, like myself?” Jack asked the man.
“Yes Your Majesty. But I beg you, do not try to rescue her. Many of your uncles, even princes from far away kingdoms have attempted. They were all killed and eaten by the dragon.” The old man stared at Jack with pleading eyes.
Jack knew he should listen to the old man, he had been told many stories about dragons. But he wanted to find true love so badly. His other girlfriends never understood him. Cinderella only wanted to clean and cook for him. Snow White had kept mice and birds and deer in the castle. Jack was very allergic to deer. Neither girl had very much interested in music. Jack loved music. Surely a girl who had been a harp for over a hundred years would too?
So Jack told Rumpelstiltskin that he would be going on the quest to save the harp.
“Then please, Your Majesty, let me come with you. I know I be can of assistance. You are probably the only person in the entire kingdom who truly appreciates me. I would hate to hear that you were eaten by the evil dragon.” Jack stared at Rumpelstiltskin, whose eyes began to swirl in their sockets, they way they always did when he was excited about something. Jack doubted that he would be of much assistance.
“Please Your Majesty. I am a very qualified Magician. Remember, I once turned an entire barn of straw into gold jewelry,” Rumpelstiltskin pleaded.
“You stole the jewelry from the store and burned up all the straw,” Jack told him.
“Without any matches. That takes skill!” Jack knew that Rumpelstiltskin always carried a kerosene lighter on him but decided not to mention this.Besides, Rumpelstiltskin really was a magician; he often performed tricks for the King. So after a bit of thought, Jack agreed to allow Rumpelstiltskin travel with him. But first he told him all his rules.
“I’m in charge. I tell you something and you listen to me.”
“Or I’ll be executed, right?” Rumpelstiltskin asked.
“This isn’t the 13th century. It’s the 21st century. Of course you won’t be executed. Besides, I thought you were immortal.”
“I am! Whoopee!” Rumpelstiltskin cheered.
“Anyway, the first time you disobey me, I’ll tie you to a tree and leave you there,” the prince told him.
“I am the world’s greatest escape artist! I can prove it. Go on, tie me up!”
“Tie me up, tie me up!”
“The second rule is that when we get to the beanstalk, you are to stay off it. You’re way too old to be climbing around on stuff, especially a ladder that leads to the sky,” said Jack.
“No climbing the beanstalk?” Rumpelstiltskin pouted.
“Not even a little bit?”
“No way!” Jack was beginning to wish that he had never told Rumpelstiltskin that he could come along with him. He liked the old man, but he was getting a bit crazy.
“How am I supposed to help slay the dragon if I can’t climb the beanstalk? Are you gonna carry me?”
“Third rule, you cannot go anywhere near the dragon. You’re too old to be fighting monsters. I will be slaying the dragon myself.” Rumpelstiltskin opened his mouth to speak, but Jack immediately cut him off.
“The last rule is that you are to stay away from any children we see along the way.” With that, Jack climbed inside the limo and Rumpelstiltskin followed him, complaining about not getting to anything cool.
“Dump,” Jack said to his driver, “Take us to the beanstalk!”
“Dum dee dum dee dum dee doo. Dee dum dee dum dee doo. Dee dum dum dee doo.”
“Will you knock that off!” said the prince. Rumpelstiltskin turned around and glared at him. He was sitting in the passenger seat, attempting to annoy Humpty Dumpty, or Dump, who was driving the car. Neither Dump nor Jack was finding him amusing.
“Why can’t I sing? You know I’ve got a lovely voice,” Rumpelstiltskin demonstrated, letting out a loud, high-pitched musical note, that made Jack’s ears ring.
“Stop that!” said Dump, “You trying to break me again?”
“Are you always this crazy?” asked Jack.
“Hey, I’m an old man! It’s all right to be a little crazy!”
Jack stared at the tiny old man. He could now understand why he didn’t have any friends. He probably scared them all away or turned them into a strange animal. But Rumpelstiltskin was so tiny and goofy looking, that Jack couldn’t help but smile when he saw him. Besides, his parents would have never been married if it wasn’t for him. So Jack liked Rumpelstiltskin, even if he had tried to take him away from his family when he was a little boy.
A loud thump woke Jack up from his nap. Rumpelstiltskin, who appeared to have also been asleep, flew out of his seat and hit the windshield face first.
“Whawasat! Whawasat!” he cried out loudly.
“Hit something in the road,” answered Dump. He backed the limo up and got out.
“It’s a wolf!” he cried out. Jack unbuckled his seatbelt and cautiously climbed out of the limo after him. Lying in front of the limo was a dead wolf. Dump was poking it with a stick.
“Stop that!” cried Jack.
“Why? The thing’s dead,” replied Dump.
“Then why are you stabbing it in the face with a stick?”
“To be sure it is. You think I’d stab it if I was sure the thing was still alive?” Dump stabbed the wolf once more before Jack swiped the stick from his hand.
A loud cracking noise came from somewhere behind them. Jack and Dump both spun around to find three little pigs wearing pants and suspenders staring up at them.
“You killed the Big Bad Wolf!” They cried out in unison. Jack didn’t say anything. He was watching in disbelief as Dump started to kick the wolf.
Rumpelstiltskin, who was trying to free his long beard from a crack in the windshield, cried out, “Yes, Your Majesty! You killed the Big Bad Wolf! Someone gotta pair of scissors? Dump?”
When nobody answered him, he pulled his kerosene lighter from his pocket. Dump immediately stopped kicking the wolf when he noticed it.
“Don’t even think about it, old man.”
“Why’d ya take so much? It took years for me to grow it this long!” He glared at Dump, but his eyes instantly brightened at the sight of the little pigs.
“Oh, draco esca, Maiestatem tuem*!” he cried out to Jack. Jack turned to look at him.
“We can’t do that!” Jack told him sternly, but had an amused look in his eyes.
“Why is the wolf bad?” asked Dump.
“Oh, because he would blow down our houses and eat old people for dinner,” said the smallest little pig. This deeply disturbed Rumpelstiltskin.
“There aren’t any other Big Bad Wolves around here, right?” he asked, nervously looking around.
“No, mister! You killed the only one!” said the medium-sized little pig.
“Actually, it was Dump’s horrible driving that killed it,” replied Rumpelstiltskin accusingly.
“Hey, it was dark. I’m tired and the prince’s snoring made extremely hard to concentrate on the road!” argued Dump.
“Oh so it’s my fault, is it?”
“N-no, Your Majesty. Not at all,” said Dump quietly. He began to fiddle with his goatee nervously.
“Good. What are building your houses out of?” Jack asked the little pigs.
“Out of the best materials possible! Straw and sticks! But the wolf could still blow them over. Now we have no place to live,” said the biggest little pig.
“Why would you build your houses out of sticks and straw? Everyone knows that bricks are the best,” Jack told them.
“BRICKS!” shouted all three little pigs.
“Oh, what a wonderful idea, Your Majesty! Thankyou, thankyou! Hamlet, Wrinkled Pig-skin, let us go and build us some house,” said the smallest little pig.
“Aye-aye, Popeye,” cried the other little pigs.
And the three little pigs ran away to build their new houses out of bricks.
“It woulda worked, ya know. I heard that dragons love bacon,” stated Rumpelstiltskin.
“Yes, but do you want to drag a bunch of pigs around the kingdom?”
Jack took over driving the car while Rumpelstiltskin and Dump got a few hours of sleep.
The next day, the three friends finally arrived at the beanstalk. Dump and Rumpelstiltskin helped Jack prepare for his climb up the beanstalk. Actually Dump was doing most of the work, Rumpelstiltskin was attempting to change Dump’s pocket knife into a sword.
“Gwahma Sayee Foh Lewer Moka Miya Noh,” he chanted. Nothing happened. Rumpelstiltskin repeated the magic words again. And again. And again.
“Maybe you’re forgetting something. A dance or some pixie dust?” Jack told him.
“Bah,” answered Rumpelstiltskin and headed climbed back into the limo. He dug around for something, then returned to Jack and Dump.
“I forgot my wand,” he told them, presenting a foot long golden stick. Then he pointed the wand at the pocket knife.
“Gwahma Sayee Foh Lewer Moka Miya Noh.”
The knife began to glow. The it became bigger and bigger until it was beautiful silver sword.
“Very nice, Rumpelstiltskin,” Jack praised. He placed the sword inside his belt and put one hand on the beanstalk.
“Wait Your Majesty. Take this as well. It might not kill the dragon, but it could help if you need to get away,” said Dump, pulling a handgun from his pocket.
Jack took the gun and proceeded to climb up the beanstalk.
“Don’t die,” called Rumpelstiltskin.
When Jack finally arrived at the top of the beanstalk, he was out of breath. His arms and legs ached and he was very tired. He decided that, after being in the castle so long, the girl and the fairy could wait a few more hours for his arrival. So Jack sat down against a magnificent willow tree to take a rest.
“Hey, what are you doing!” cried a voice. Startled, Jack jumped to his feet. Where had it come from. Could dragons talk? He looked up, searching for the giant winged lizard.
“Right behind you, boy!” Jack quickly turned toward the voice. To his amazement, the willow tree had spoken to him. It had eyes, a nose and a mouth. Jack took a step back. The tree laughed.
“Don’t you worry, I’m not going to hurt you unless I have to,” said the willow tree. “What’s yer name, boy?”
“Jack, sir,” he answered.
“The king’s son?”
“And I suppose that you are on a quest to rescue the beautiful Harmony from my master, the Evil Dragon?”
“Yessir. I suppose so, sir.”
“Well I advise you turn around now. There ain’t no chance for you to defeat that monster. Go now before you get eaten.”
“I cannot, tree. I must go on,” Jack told him.
“You must? And why is that so? Does it have something to do with the little old man behind you?” Jack spun around to find Rumpelstiltskin staring in awe up at the tree.
“Didn’t I tell you that you were not to climb the beanstalk?” Jack said sternly.
“I took a plane.” Rumpelstiltskin pointed toward a large lake. Sure enough, a small plane was sitting next to the lake, with Dump inside, waving madly at Jack.
“You never said I couldn’t fly here,” Rumpelstiltskin told him. Jack knew he couldn’t argue with that. He hadn’t said anything about a plane.
“I brought some friends too,” said Rumpelstiltskin, pointing at Hamlet, Popeye, and Rumpled Pig-skin.
“I told you we couldn’t do that!” cried Jack.
“I had to bring them. It’s their plane!”
“Well, you’re all going to stay right here!”
“Even us?” said Popeye. “Dragons love bacon you know.”
“Yes, I’ve heard.”
“Perhaps we could distract the dragon while you slay it.
“Definitely not.” Jack walked away from every one of them complained.
He walked straight up to the castle and knocked on the door. An elderly woman answered the door.
“You must be the fairy that must clean the dragon’s castle forever. Is the evil dragon home?”
“Dear child the dragon is not home. May I give him a message? What is it that you want to tell him?”
“Fairy, I am a prince. I have come to rescue you and the beautiful Harmony,” Jack told her. She stared at Jack in disbelief. She herself had set the spell for a prince, but surely this young man couldn’t be the one! He wasn’t much more than a child!
“You must leave. There is no chance for you. Princes twice your size have come to rescue us, but have failed. Please, just go.”
“I am sorry. I cannot leave. But you can. My friends by the willow tree will take care of you.”
“I am unable to leave until the dragon is either returned to his human form or dead.”
Alice finally allowed Jack to enter the castle. She led him to the tower where the Magic Harp was hidden. When Jack saw it, he could believe his eyes. The harp was a life size golden statue of the most beautiful girl in the world. She sat on a golden stool, and her arms were stretched out towards the strings of her golden harp.
“Tell her to play, Your Majesty,” said Alice.
Jack quietly whispered to Harmony, telling it to sing. The statue began to play, plucking the strings of her harp, making the most beautiful sound he had ever heard. When she finished her song, Jack sighed.
“Don’t worry, Harmony. I’m going to get you out of here.” The statue didn’t say anything to him, but Jack could have sworn that she smiled at him, if only for just a moment.
He lifted the instrument to carry out of the castle. It was surprisingly light for something made of pure gold. He carried her down several cases of stairs and out the door. When he got outside the castle, it was waiting for him.
The dragon was huge. Fifty feet tall, more than twice that long. He had shiny black scales. His claws and teeth were all much bigger than Jack’s sword. His eyes were blood red. Each time he took a breath, smoke billowed from nostrils. A pair of horns crowned his head. In his mouth, he held Rumpelstiltskin by his beard. The old man’s eyes were wild, and he screech loudly, “Lemme go, you overgrown alligator!”
Jack set the harp down and pulled the sword from his belt. The sight of the silver blade made the dragon go crazy. He bellowed and charged, dropping Rumpelstiltskin as he came. The tiny man just barely avoided being trampled.
“Dragon, you have caused much trouble throughout the centuries. It is time to end this,” cried Jack. He tried the stab the dragon in the throat, but it swiped the sword out of his hands. The dragon pinned Jack down with one of its feet.
Jack waited for the dragon’s teeth to pierce his heart. But just as he was leaning down, something knocked him off of Jack. Jack looked up and saw, to his amazement, Dump in the airplane, flying in circle around the Dragon’s head. The dragon began to swat at the airplane.
Jack grabbed his sword and rolled underneath the dragon’s stomach and stabbed him in a soft patch of skin. The dragon roared and evaporated into smoke.
“You did it, you did it,” cried the three little pigs.
“Yes we did,” said Jack.
“Look,” said Rumpelstiltskin, pointing at the Magic Harp, which had begun to glow brightly. The harp turned into a golden ball of fire. Everyone shielded their eyes from the light.
When it disappeared, Harmony was standing there, once again in her human form. Jack took her hand and led her to the airplane. Alice came out of the castle and followed them. Suddenly the fairy gasped and pointed at the smoke that was still coming from the spot the dragon was only minutes before.
“What is it?” Jack asked. But he saw before Alice was able to answer. The smoke drifted away, revealing a scruffy looking man in medieval farmers clothes. He looked shocked as he examined his hands. The fairly slowly approached him.
“I’m fixed,” stated the man.
“Yes, it appears so,” replied Alice.
“But how?” He asked. Alice looked baffled herself. Rumpelstiltskin approached them.
“The witch’s spell was for life. The dragon’s life ended when Jack slayed him. But the farmer’s life was put on hold 800 years ago when the spell was cast. Killing the dragon brought the farmer back.”
“My father?” Harmony asked Jack.
“I’ll get him.”
Jack went back to where the willow tree had once stood. Standing there in its place was a knight in armor. He grinned at Jack, then raced to reunite with his mother and daughter. They went back to the airplane and Dump took them back to the king’s palace. Jack and Harmony were married soon afterward and they all lived happily ever after.