This Spells Trouble

story & illustration © 2003 Bruce Van Patter

M
agic made Theo nervous. When he came to clean the wizard's cottage, he did his work quickly.
It wasn't just the magic, though, that worried him. Greybeard's magic could surprise him, like the time he made frogs appear in Theo's bucket. But Greybeard was a kind wizard. He didn't teach the Old Spells, the ones that really made trouble. In fact, he kept those books locked up in a box on the fireplace shelf. That would have made Theo feel safer, if it weren't for Coil.
Coil Adders was Greybeard's helper -- a wizard in training. He had slick, black hair and a smile like a dragon, all sly and toothy. Theo kept a watch on him.

Then one day, while the wizard was away in the woods, Coil made his move. Theo looked up from washing the windows to see Coil sliding softly over to the fireplace. When he reached up to the locked box, a key shone in the firelight. "What are you doing?" Theo asked. Coil just grinned and opened the box. He took out a book and began to read.

"Put that back!" yelled Theo. Coil ignored him. So Theo rushed up and grabbed the book. A page ripped out, still held by Coil. "Now look what you've done," he snarled at Theo. When Theo tried to snatch the page, Coil tossed it into the fire, saying, "Oh, too bad!"

But the page didn't burn. Instead, sparks began to rise from it, winding around in the flames, then floating out into the dim room like flickering, spiky bubbles. Then, one by one, they popped. And as a spark-bubble popped, in its place was a small, fiery fairy. Each one had a tiny sword. And an angry look on its face.


It's Your Story - Look out! Danger is in the air!

Can you write an ending in which Theo stops that trickster Coil and these fairies he's made? Will Greybeard get involved? What dangerous thing might happen? And... I hope that just like the story, you're all fired up to write!

Have fun -- finish the story -- and be creative! If you want to, email me your ending!

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