5 Children's Stories
(by CJ Heck)
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Description:  The Magic Banana

A Children's fantasy adventure set in another world about three best friends who go on a simple picnic and,
through magic, one of them suddenly disappears. To get their friend back, the two remaining friends must travel
through the frightening Everlie Woods, where nothing is ever as it appears -- and no one who enters there has
ever returned ...


The Magic Banana

Tucked in way above our stars and under our moon, there's a faraway land. It's lovely and very different from
our world. It's called The Land of The Purple Moons, because up in the sky at night, it has two large purple moons.
There are also two bright suns that shine in the daytime that are always hooked together by a beautiful rainbow.

In The Land of The Purple Moons, there's a thick magic forest called The Forest of Enchantment.  It's called
that because sometimes things happen there that just can't be explained.

This is a story about three best friends who lived near The Forest of Enchantment in The Land of The Purple
Moons and an adventure that none of them will ever forget.

I know this is true, because someone who's been there told me to tell you.

The first of the friends was Bartholomew Bear. His friends couldn't say that name, so they called him B Bear.  
This was just fine with Bartholomew, because he couldn't say it either.

B Bear was very smart and he, if anyone should be, he was, the leader of the three best friends.  They looked up
to him for his wonderful ideas and his important decisions.

The next was Monkey and he, if anyone had to be, was the playful one of the three friends. He loved making them
laugh by doing silly things and making funny noises and faces. Monkey was  always hungry. Every morning, he filled
his pockets with good things to eat before he left home. That was okay though, because he always shared what he
brought with his friends.

The last of the three friends was Lambie, a little pink lamb. She was kind and gentle and, if anyone could be, she
was the very heart of the three best friends.  Lambie was the one who always knew when it was time to go home
so no one would worry about them. She was the one who always knew when an idea was not a good idea, because she
was also the one who made sure the three best friends were always good.

I know this is true, because someone who's been there told me to tell you.

One day, the three best friends decided to meet at the edge of The Forest of Enchantment the very next day.
It would be a nice day for a picnic and B Bear announced that he knew the perfect spot. He told them it was near
a babbling brook that whispered poetry and there was a tall gumdrop tree nearby where Monkey could climb and
play. Maybe he would even toss some gumdrops down to them!

Now they wondered, what time should they meet?  After much discussion, Monkey, being the silly one, said they
should meet at three hairs past a freckle, eastern elbow time.  The three friends laughed and, of course, Monkey
laughed louder than anyone.  With Monkey holding back even MORE giggles and snorts, they finally agreed.  They
would meet at elevenish fourteen o'clock.

The next morning, Monkey was the first to arrive. As usual, his pockets were full of food, just in case he got
hungry before lunch. He sat down on a tree stump and munched on cookies while he waited for his two best friends.

B Bear was next to arrive, carrying the biggest picnic basket Monkey had ever seen!  But when B Bear noticed
Monkey's bulging pockets and that Monkey was already eating cookies, he shouted in a very loud voice, "Monkey!
What's wrong with you? You knew I was bringing a picnic basket. You knew it would have plenty to eat inside. Why
did you have to fill your pockets with cookies today?"

Monkey didn't mean to make B Bear angry.  He tried to make him laugh by making funny faces, but it only made B
Bear even more angry!

In his loudest voice, B Bear shouted, "Monkey! I asked what's wrong with you?"

Just then, Lambie arrived. She was already talking about how she hadn't forgotten to bring lots of juice in case
they all got thirsty. Lambie didn't notice the mad face B Bear was wearing or the sad face that Monkey now had
on. She DID notice B Bear's loud voice, though, and said, "B Bear, don't use your grumpy-growly voice with Monkey.
That isn't nice!"

B Bear told Lambie about Monkey's bulging pockets and his cheeks full of cookies.   Then he told her how Monkey
made things even worse by making silly faces.   It was like Monkey didn't care that B Bear was upset and that
was why he was so angry!

Since Lambie was the heart of the three friends, she said, "B Bear, say what you mean, mean what you say, but
don't say it mean.  Shouting never solves a problem. Let's all sit down and talk about this calmly."

The two suns were high in the sky by the time the three friends finally worked things out and were on their way
to the picnic spot. Monkey agreed to put the food from his pockets into the picnic basket, except for one banana,
just in case he got hungry along the way, and B Bear agreed to put away his angry voice and use more patience.

I know this is true, because someone who's been there told me to tell you.

After walking for nearly an hour, Monkey began to whine, "When will we be there? How much farther to the
babbling brook? Will the gumdrop tree really have enough gumdrops for all of us?  I'm tired! I'm hungry! Why do
we have to go any further into the woods?  Why can't we just eat here?"

Since she was also very understanding, Lambie suggested that they sit down and rest for a little while. She told
Monkey that now would be a perfect time for him to eat the banana he had saved.

B Bear was tired, too, and he had worked up a bear of an appetite, himself. His patience with Monkey and his
whining was all used up. Before Lambie could stop him, he grabbed the banana from Monkey, pointed it right at him
and shouted, "Monkey! Stop whining!  Stop asking all of your silly questions!  Stop it, stop it, stop it!  Sometimes, I
wish you would just disappear!"

All at once, there was a soft and quiet sound:

                       
 ((( p o o f )))

B Bear was so surprised by what happened  next, he dropped the banana on the ground where he stood. Monkey
was gone!  B Bear rubbed his eyes and then slowly peeked through his fingers.  It didn't change a thing.  Monkey
was exactly nowhere at all!  

Lambie and B Bear stared at each other. "How could this happen? How can this be? Where did Monkey go? Wait a
minute, is this one of Monkey's silly games to make us laugh?"  Lambie asked, hoping.

B Bear was quiet.  He was scratching his head and thinking with a big furry frown on his face.  Because he was so
smart, B Bear answered, "No, Lambie, he really is gone.  It must have happened because of the magic here in The
Forest of Enchantment."  B Bear had heard stories about strange things happening here that shouldn't happen
anywhere.  That was probably it. But the thought sure didn't make B Bear feel very good. He didn't feel good at
all.

The two best friends that were left were very upset. They walked around in circles thinking and wringing their
hands.  They looked for Monkey again and again, just in case it was all a terrible mistake, but Monkey was still
gone.  They called his name over and over, but he didn't answer.  B Bear and Lambie were very worried.

"Oh my, B Bear. What have you done?  What are we going to do?  What if we never see Monkey again!" cried
Lambie.

B Bear felt just awful. He was wishing he hadn't wished. He tried again and pleaded, "Monkey, please come back!  
You know I didn't mean it. You're my friend and I don't want you to disappear!"  But Monkey stayed gone.  He was
totally, completely gone.

Because B Bear was their leader, he knew he would have to make a decision. He sighed deeply and then said, "I
think there is only one thing we can do, Lambie. We have to go and see the great Wallah of Poobah. He's the
Keeper of Truth here in The Land of The Purple Moons.  Every thought you could ever think is there. Every
question you could ever ask is there. Every answer to every question ever asked is there. We have to go right
now! We can't wait another minute!"

Lambie knew B Bear was right. He was smart and if he said they needed to do that, then they needed to do that.  
The truth was, Lambie was afraid. Everyone in The Land of The Purple Moons knew the Wallah of Poobah lived on
the other side of Everlie Woods.   That was a strange and frightening place, a place to stay away from, a place
NOT to go to.  No one who had ever gone to Everlie Woods had ever returned.  Not once.

The two friends talked it over.  After nearly an hour, they were all out of new ideas.  They knew they had no
choice. They put aside their fears and began the long walk. They were glad they had packed a picnic, because they
would need it on their long journey.

B Bear and Lambie felt heartsick about poor Monkey disappearing.  They were determined to make it through
Everlie Woods. No matter what happened, they would make it!  Then they would tell the great Wallah of Poobah
about their problem.  He will know what to do.  He will help them bring Monkey back, and they will make it back
from Everlie Woods, too!  After all, B Bear said they would and B Bear was the smartest one she knew.

I know this is true, because someone who's been there told me to tell you.

The two suns and the rainbow between them had slipped down from the sky when Lambie and B Bear finally sat
down to eat the food in the picnic basket. They had walked along the narrow path in silence all day.  Now they
were deep in the frightening Everlie Woods and they were glad the two purple moons burned so brightly in the
night sky.

Lambie asked, "B Bear, how do you know we're going in the right direction?"

B Bear told her that he didn't really know for sure. He was just following his nose because his father always told
him, "Son, the nose knows."

Then Lambie asked him, "Do you suppose we WILL get to the other side of Everlie Woods? Do you think the great
Wallah of Poobah can help us get Monkey back? Will we be able to find our way home again? I DO want to grow up,
B Bear, I do!"

Poor Lambie, thought B Bear. She's so kind and gentle and she's VERY worried, just like I am. I have to try and
get her mind away from this awful situation, if only for a few minutes. "Lambie, what do you want to be when you
grow up?" he asked as he dug through the picnic basket for another sandwich.

"I want to be just like my Mother, B Bear. She's a nurse and she's very pretty. I want to be a pretty and
fisticated nurse, just like my mother."

B Bear scratched his head, thinking. Then with a puzzled look on his fuzzy face, he asked, "Pretty and a nurse,
okay. But Lambie, WHAT is fisticated?"

Lambie found his question very odd. B Bear was smart and yet he didn't know something? Lambie answered, "B
Bear, that's what my father always says about mother.  He says she is a good nurse, very pretty, and so
fisticated."

B Bear heard this and, because he WAS smart, he began to laugh. He laughed until his tummy hurt. He laughed
until his ribs ached. He laughed until tears overflowed his eyes and made wet trails down his fuzzy brown cheeks!
He was about to tell Lambie why it was so funny when, all of a sudden, there was a loud booming voice!

                             
  "QUIET!"

"Who said that?" asked Lambie and B Bear at exactly the same time.

"It is I", came the booming voice again. "I am the Keeper of The Silence!  QUIET, I say!"

B Bear looked all around, but all he could see was a tall tree with orange leaves. "Who is talking?" asked B bear.
"Is that you, tree?  Trees don't talk!"

"QUIET!  I am the Keeper of The Silence!" shouted the very tall orange tree.

Lambie said, "Keeper of The Silence, please don't use that grumpy voice with us. We're on our way to see the
great Wallah of Poobah to get our friend back. Could you please tell us if we are going in the right direction?  Then
we promise we will leave you to your silence."

"Yes.  I will tell you which way to go, IF you'll be QUIET!"  he answered, pointing with one of his long branches.
"You must turn left by that large blue rock over there. Then you will be going in the right direction.  Now, GO!  Go
at once!"

Lambie and B Bear finished their picnic in silence.  Then they said thank you to the tall, strange orange tree who
was also the Keeper of The Silence. Then waving goodbye, they turned left at the large blue rock and continued
on their journey.  

A short while later, they came upon a sign that said:

 ‘Wallah of Poobah, This Way’ ------>

B Bear and Lambie were happy.  How helpful to see a sign!  They immediately turned right and once again followed
the narrow path.     

They really missed Monkey. They hung onto the hope that once they left these frightening woods, the great
Wallah of Poobah would be able to help them get their friend back.

After a while, Lambie and B bear decided they had to rest. They had been walking for hours and they were tired.
They sat down on a log by the side of the path.  In the purple moonlight B Bear noticed a very large blue rock. He
told Lambie that it looked familiar. Lambie laughed and told him that all big blue rocks looked the same to her! B
Bear began to laugh, too.

Suddenly, a voice boomed, "Quiet!  QUIET, I said!  I am the Keeper of The Silence and I said BE QUIET!"

"What?  How could this be?" asked Lambie.

"I don't know," answered B Bear in a whisper.  "This is very strange."

Somehow, the two friends had traveled in a big circle. They were right back where they had eaten their picnic
hours ago.  They were back at the large blue rock.  They were back where the Keeper of The Silence had told
them which way they should go!

Lambie was confused.  She asked the Keeper, "Didn't you tell us to turn left at that large blue rock over there?"

"Yes, yes of course!" shouted the Keeper of The Silence.

"Then how can we be back here again?" asked Lambie.

"How am I supposed to know that?" sulked the Keeper of The Silence. "I told you which way to go,  and I never
lie."

Then Lambie remembered the sign they came to along the path. When she asked the orange tree about the sign,
the Keeper of The Silence only muttered and shook his bushy orange leaves so hard that little pieces of orange
fluttered to the ground all around them.

B Bear had been sitting quietly, listening to the conversation between Lambie and the Keeper of The Silence. He
was thinking, and when B Bear was thinking, all sorts of important things went through his mind.      

All at once, he jumped to his feet.  He put his finger to his lips and said, "Shhhhh," to Lambie.  B Bear then asked
the very tall orange tree, "Mr. Keeper, what would happen if I turned RIGHT at the large blue rock over there?"

The Keeper coughed and cleared his woody throat.  Then he said, "Well, if you do THAT, you will NEVER see the
Wallah of Poobah, now will you?"

B Bear whispered to Lambie to follow him and they went exactly where the tall orange tree told them NOT to go.  
They turned to the RIGHT at the large blue rock.

"What are we doing, B Bear? Why are we going this way?" asked Lambie.

"Shhhhh ..." said B Bear. "Follow me, Lambie, and hurry!"

I know this is true, because someone who's been there told me to tell you.

They went past the place where the Keeper of The Silence was, past where the large blue rock sat, and past the
log where they sat down to rest. B Bear excitedly told Lambie what he had figured out.  "Lambie! I know exactly
why we went in circles! This is Everlie Woods. We have been pronouncing it 'Ever-LEE'.   Lambie, it isn't that at
all!  We should have pronounced it 'Ever-LIE'!  I believe everything in Everlie Woods lies!  

When we came back to the same place where we were hours ago and the Keeper of The Silence said he doesn't
ever lie, I KNEW he had lied. That means the sign was a lie, too!  EVERYTHING in Everlie Woods lies.   If we
want to get to the Wallah of Poobah, we must do the opposite of what anyone, or anything, here tells us to do. It's
sad, but when someone lies, you just can't believe them, not ever."

Poor B Bear and Lambie. They had so many problems. They walked all night and now they were both worried AND
tired. They watched as the two purple moons slowly settled themselves into the trees to make room for the two
bright suns and their rainbow between them.    

All through the long night, they walked in the opposite direction from where every sign pointed.  They also turned
in the opposite direction when anyone they met along the path told them which way they should be going.

When they finally reached the edge of Everlie Woods, they sat down to rest and they noticed a huge glittering
castle off in the distance, high on a hill.  It seemed to reflect every color from the beautiful rainbow high in the
sky!  That had to be the castle of the great Wallah of Poobah!  Lambie and B Bear finally began to feel hopeful
again.  They ran as fast as their tired legs would carry them, straight to the castle where the wise and great man
with all of the answers lived.

After a long wait in the great hallway of the castle, it was finally their turn to see the Wallah of Poobah. It
seemed like such a long time ago when Monkey disappeared. So much had happened since then! It was hard for
them to believe it had only been yesterday morning.

The Wallah of Poobah sat on a high jeweled throne of gold.  His long white beard covered his lap like a blanket and
he smiled as the two best friends introduced themselves and explained everything to him. They told him about
the first argument and the making up. They talked about the long walk and Monkey's whining. Then they told him
the last and very worst thing.  They told him how B Bear had pointed the banana at Monkey and wished his awful
wish.  Finally, they told him about the quiet sound that took Monkey away from them.  "Great Wallah, won't you
please tell us how to get our friend back?" cried Lambie. "Can you please help us?"

The Wallah thought and thought. Then he stroked his long white beard, and he thought some more. Suddenly, he
raised a finger in the air and with a mighty voice, he proclaimed, "Aha!  I know what the problem is and I know how
to fix it!  My two young friends from far away, somehow, you found a
magic banana. They’re VERY rare, you know.  
I have only seen one in my entire lifetime!  

Now, listen very closely.  There is something important I must tell you about a
magic banana.  With this kind of
banana, every action has an opposite reaction. Your banana is extra powerful here, because it also pulls even more
magic from The Forest of Enchantment!

Now listen carefully.  This is very important!  What you have to do is go back to where you last saw your friend.  
Stand right where you were when this happened yesterday.  Then pick up your special banana.  Turn it around and
point it at
exactly where your friend used to be and wish him back again!

Ah yes,“ he muttered to himself, “every action has an opposite reaction."  Then he turned to them again and
exclaimed, "Now go -- and hurry! You must go back to where you last saw your friend and unwish your wish with the
magic banana!"

I know this is true, because someone who's been there told me to tell you.

Lambie and B Bear thanked the great Wallah of Poobah and said goodbye to the wise man. Then, even though they
were still very tired, they ran all the way back through Everlie Woods and back to the edge of The Forest of
Enchantment and back to where they last saw Monkey.    

It was amazing! They found the banana still lying on the ground right where B Bear had dropped it yesterday. B
Bear picked it up, trying to feel its magic, but it didn't feel any different from any other banana he had held.      

Taking a deep breath, B Bear closed his eyes.  Then he pointed the special banana at the spot where Monkey had
disappeared and shouted, "Monkey, come back! I don't WANT you to disappear!"

Nothing happened. Nothing at all. Then B Bear remembered the most important thing the Wallah of Poobah had
told them. This was a
magic banana and every action has an opposite reaction. This time, B Bear turned the banana
around and pointed the other end at the spot where Monkey had been standing.   

B Bear took another deep breath, closed his eyes tightly again, and this time slowly said, "Monkey, I wish you to
come back! I don't WANT you to be gone!"  

                            
  ((( p o o f )))

In an instant, Monkey was standing there just like he was yesterday morning! Monkey even came back in the
middle of a sentence.  He was STILL whining about how hungry he was and asking why they couldn't stop NOW and
just eat here. Monkey was so surprised when Lambie and B Bear ran over to hug him.  He stopped whining and
stared at them with his eyes as big as dinner plates!

"Come on, Monkey, let's go home." Said B Bear with a smile. “We have such a wonderful adventure to tell you
about."  Then he handed the very special banana to his hungry friend.

I know this is true, because someone who's been there told me to tell you.

The very last time this someone saw them, they were headed towards home, hand in hand in hand.   The three
best friends were all together again and already looking forward to their next exciting adventure.

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other than brief quotations or printed reviews, without prior permission of the author.
Using love and the family dog, a mother explains a difficult grownup issue.
The day began like any other day, but this particular day would have a
VERY different ending.  Sometimes, miracles really do happen.
A preschool story about being happy with who you are.
With love, an ice cream cone, and a walk in the park, a grandfather teaches his
granddaughter about a difficult grownup issue -- divorce
.

"May you always see the world through the eyes of a child." ~CJ Heck

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