A long, long time ago, there was a world. In it lived good and evil creatures of all shapes and sizes. There were the Good Giants who lived in the Land of the Good Giants. There were the Little People who were the size of a human hand, and who lived on Shoe Island. There were also the Hanimals who looked like animals but were larger and could talk, and there were all sorts of regular animals in the land of Tanafsy, Sunshine Island, and the Four Islands. Also in the land of Tanafsy there were many strange creatures and some humans. Actually, at the time this story takes place, there was only one human left. King Stephen the Third was killed by the evil creatures when they came to Tanafsy, which left only Prince Stephen the Fourth. He would have become king, but he was kidnapped by the evil creatures and taken to Dungeon Island in the Land of Darkness. In addition, the Great Emerald was stolen.
The Great Emerald is a jewel that will give you great powers. Only the Royal Family knows how it works. The secrets were passed on from generation to generation.
The emerald is useless to anybody who doesn't know how it works. If the evil creatures somehow got the prince to tell them, though, they would have great powers and would use them for evil deeds. If Prince Stephen was killed, nobody would ever know the secrets.
The evil Queen of Darkness hired a wizard to put a spell over everyone in the Land of Tanafsy and the Land of the Good Giants, so that they would sleep until the spell was broken. The only ones who weren't under the spell were Prince Stephen and the Little People. The Little People were too small to do anything and the prince couldn't escape. They needed a hero from somewhere.
Susan Curry put down the book she was reading.
"I wish I was their hero," she said to herself, "or at least SOMEBODY'S hero."
Susan, a short, dark haired, blue eyed girl wasn't really good at anything. Her life was very boring.
She sighed and went to supper.
Susan put a lunch and two books into her knapsack. She was going to take a walk in the forest by her house. She didn't have many friends, so she did that often.
She went way into the middle of the forest and sat down beside a tree to read. Susan's book was so interesting that she didn't realize it was getting dark. She never noticed the strain on her eyes.
Susan realized how dark it was when she set down her finished book. She stood up and tried to figure out which direction led to her house. Susan couldn't remember where she had made left turns or right turns. It was getting darker and darker every second. As she looked one way, she thought she saw a light. Susan grabbed her knapsack and headed toward what she thought was her house.
By now it was almost pitch black. Susan could hardly see where she was going. She was walking along when she tripped over a tree root, fell and hit her head on another root . . .
* * * * *
Susan woke up with a very sore head. She didn't want to move it, so she just looked up. When she saw the trees above her, she remembered tripping over the root.
By now it was daylight. She could hear birds singing, bees buzzing and many other sounds. Then she heard voices - human voices. Susan forced herself to move her head and see who it was. Maybe it was her parents.
She sat up and looked around. She never saw anybody, until she looked down.
Standing around her were six little people who were about the size of her hand. She noticed that they all had blonde hair and tiny blue eyes. The three little girls were wearing little green, fancy dresses. The three boys were dressed in green shorts and shirts. Susan could tell they were very young.
"It IS alive!" one little person exclaimed.
"Told you so." said another.
"What will we do with it?" asked one of the little girls.
"Maybe it's dangerous!"
"We should take it to Father." said one of the little boys.
"How will we get it there?"
"I'll go get some help."
One of the girls ran off, while the others made sure Susan didn't go anywhere.
Susan tried to sit up and was poked in the arm with something.
"Ouch!" she exclaimed and was poked again.
"We demand to know who you are and where you come from." spoke up one of the little boys.
Susan thought it over and decided to tell them. "My name is Susan Curry and I live over there." She pointed to the right.
"She's from over the edge of the world!?!" exclaimed one of the children. "That's impossible!"
"But I'm not from over the edge of the world! Everybody knows there is no edge of the world."
"She's from the Land of Darkness!" said one of the boys. "A spy!"
Suddenly Susan thought of something. "This is out of the book I'm reading. I'm on Shoe Island!"
Susan heard footsteps and voices. When she looked up she saw an army and the little girl marching toward her.
They were all very small, although taller than the girl.
The leader came up to Susan. "These spears have poison on them. We advise that you do everything we say."
Susan was forced to walk down a path, surrounded by little people. She noticed that everything was regular-sized, except for the Little People and their homes.
As Susan and the army went by, everybody came out to the road to watch. They kept a distance, though, because they thought Susan had to be one of the Evil Creatures.
Susan noticed that they were walking towards a beautiful castle, but when they got to it they kept going. Over the hill that the castle was on, there was a human-sized building.
The leader told Susan to go inside, and the door was locked behind her.
She looked around. There was a window which let in enough light to cover the inside of the little building. It was very small, and had a bed and blanket in the corner.
Since she had nothing better to do, Susan pulled her book out of her knapsack. She started to read the book from when it said they needed a hero.
She found out that the names of the three little girls were Teeny, Tiny and Wee. The names of the boys were Shrimp, Pudgy and Shorty. You could tell Pudgy apart from the other two boys because he was a little on the chubby side. The way to tell the others apart was by the personalized pendants they wore around their necks.
Also, they were all the children of King Smallperson and Queen Little. (they were the rulers of the Little People.)
Susan read up to the part where she was in the building. When she turned the page, it was blank. To her surprise, as she did something, it appeared on the page.
Susan thought back to where she found the book. It was in an old trunk in her attic. Susan's father said it had belonged to a great, great uncle of her's. When Susan asked who that uncle was, her father told her about how everyone thought "Uncle Fred" was crazy when he talked about himself visiting another world.
At that point, Susan thought of where she was. Could it have been the same world her uncle talked about?
Susan got up and went to the door.
"Hey!" she yelled to the guards. One of them came to the door.
"Will you take me to see King Smallperson or Queen Little?" Susan asked.
The guard thought for a second, then headed toward the castle.
In a couple of minutes the guard returned with one of the poisoned spears. Susan was taken to another building that she hadn't seen before. It was human-sized, too.
When they entered, Susan saw two little thrones with two little people on them. They were, of course, King Smallperson and Queen Little.
"Well? Aren't you going to bow?" King Smallperson asked.
Susan bowed. She didn't want to offend them.
"I was wondering if you knew Fred Curry" Susan said nervously.
"Why of course we know him! He was the one who saved us. What does that have to do with anything, though?"
"He's my uncle." Susan stated.
"How do we know you're not lying?"
Susan told the king and queen who she was and what happened the night before. Then she pulled out the book she had brought with her.
King Smallperson started turning the pages of the book that was larger than he was. With each page he turned, his eyes popped out more and more. Queen Little, who was looking over his shoulder, did the same.
All of a sudden, they started apologizing to Susan.
"You must be the hero!" King Smallperson exclaimed. It was Susan's turn to have her eyes pop out.
Susan never even thought of that. They needed a hero and she had wished she could be one. She wasn't sure she could handle this quest, though.
"I'm sure you know what the quest is." said King Smallperson. "Before you set off on your journey, we will give you some food and a good night's sleep."
Susan was taken to a room and was asked what she wanted to eat.
"Tacos?" Susan asked.
The guard shook his head.
"Chicken fingers?" she asked next.
The guard looked confused. "Chickens don't have fingers."
"Never mind. Just bring me anything."
The guard left, and Susan looked around. It was a nice room. She presumed it was the guest room.
The room included a fireplace and a wardrobe. Susan looked inside the wardrobe and found some clothes. Her ripped jeans and old t-shirt sure didn't compare to those beautiful dresses!
The guard soon returned with some food on a giant cart.
It tasted good, but Susan asked them not to tell her what it was.
When Susan was done eating, the guard came in.
"You are to rest until it is time to go."
Susan did as she was told.
* * * * *
"Wake up Susan!"
Teeny was standing beside her on the bed.
Susan got up, and was surprised when Teeny told her it was five in the morning.
"I slept that long?"
She was taken to the room where she had met the king and queen originally.
"These will be your guides. Meet Geographer and the Royal Mapmaker."
"Call me George."
"Call me Mappy."
"Call me Susan."
"Now here is the plan." King Smallperson said. "Take the human-sized boat over to the Land of Tanafsy. Once there, get some supplies from Latsec Castle. Then travel over the Separating Sea, into Serpent Bay, through the Forest of Fear, across Evil Lake and on to Dungeon Island. Once there, set Prince Stephen free, get the Great Emerald, let Prince Stephen put it to use and return to the Land of Tanafsy."
Susan went to get her knapsack and everyone bade her good-bye. Then she, George and Mappy got in the boat and rowed to the land of Tanafsy.
Nothing much happened on the way to Latsec Castle. (That was Prince Stephen's castle.) George and Mappy told Susan which way to go as they rode in her knapsack.
It took a few hours with rests along the way to get to the castle. Once there, Susan looked around for useful things. A blanket, a sword and a supply of food were what she chose. She put everything in her knapsack, except for the sword that she would wear. Susan hoped she didn't have to use her weapon.
By now it was pretty late. They decided to spend the night in Latsec Castle.
In the castle there were many creatures who were fast asleep. Susan chose a room where there weren't any creatures.
* * * * *
The next day, they had breakfast and walked for an hour to get to the edge of the Separating Sea. Once there, they hopped in another boat.
Nothing happened as they traveled over the Separating Sea, but when they got to the Land of Darkness things started happening.
It was dark and foggy in Serpent Bay. Susan heard strange noises and was sure she saw something hiding in the forest.
It was also very cold so Susan stopped rowing for a second to put on a jacket.
After rowing for half an hour, George whispered, "Row to land now."
They climbed up the steep bank. (Actually, Susan did while the others rode in her knapsack.) It was a lot of trouble dragging the boat up there, but they needed it to get across Evil Lake.
It was a fifteen minute walk sneaking through the Forest of Fear. Luckily, there were no Evil Creatures around. Susan wondered why.
"Look! There's Evil Lake!" whispered Mappy.
It looked like a bunch of mud. Susan stuck a branch in and had a hard time pulling it back out.
Susan was worried that the Evil Creatures would come soon. She started wishing she was back home.
Susan put the boat in the "mud" and climbed in.
Instead of rowing, she sort of pushed her boat along by keeping the oars on the surface.
It was slow progress so it took almost twenty minutes to get across. When they got to the shore of Dungeon Island, they were extra careful. There would surely be guards on the island.
"I think the Great Emerald is in there." Mappy pointed to one of the small buildings. "And Prince Stephen should be in there."
Susan snuck up on the guard by what she thought was the emerald's building. She hit him over the head with a large stick she found.
It turned out Mappy was right. The emerald was in that building.
Susan took the emerald and went over to the other building. Again she hit the guard over the head and went inside.
It was dark but she could see someone in there.
"Prince Stephen?" she asked cautiously.
"Yes. Who are you?"
"I'll tell you later. Right now, do whatever you have to to wake up the good creatures." Susan handed him the Great Emerald.
After examining it, Prince Stephen decided it was the real one.
Prince Stephen started saying something in a strange language. When he appeared to be done, Susan asked, "What were you saying?"
"All the good creatures are on their way to help defeat the Evil Creatures."
"Why didn't you just put a spell over the Evil Creatures with the Great Emerald?"
"The emerald can only be used for good and necessary purposes." was his reply.
As they waited for the good creatures to get to the Land of Darkness, Susan explained to Prince Stephen who she was.
All of a sudden there was a lot of noise.
"They have arrived." stated Prince Stephen.
Although Susan protested, they went to join the fighting. George and Mappy stayed in the building so they would be safe.
Susan and Prince Stephen searched Dungeon Island, but didn't find any Evil Creatures. Prince Stephen went in the boat to join the others and left Susan to get anyone who came to Dungeon Island.
"Please, nobody come to the island." Susan said to herself.
She started walking around and patrolling the island.
As Susan turned a corner she found herself face to face with the Queen of Darkness.
Susan could tell who she was, although she didn't know how.
Susan's worst fear was coming true. She had to use her sword.
Before she knew it, Susan had her sword in her hand and the queen was lying on the ground.
"I killed her!" Susan said in shock.
All of a sudden Susan heard a noise behind her. When she turned around, she saw a horrible looking creature coming towards her.
"You killed the queen!?" he said in a mean voice.
When the creature was very close, Susan swung her sword at it. In a split second it was lying on the ground dead.
"I can't stop murdering!" Susan exclaimed.
There was another noise behind her. As Susan turned around, she swung her sword.
Susan looked at the VERY shocked person who was standing in front of her. Luckily, she had just scratched the prince's arm.
"I'm sorry." Susan said. "I just can't stop killing!"
Prince Stephen hardly heard her. He was looking at the one body that was lying on the ground.
"You killed the queen!"
With this remark, Prince Stephen pulled Susan onto the roof of the building. He yelled the same thing to everyone below who were fighting.
Everybody cheered as the message was passed from one person to the next. Susan, who was very embarrassed, tried to get off the roof. Susan hit her head in the same place she had before.
"Look, she's waking up!"
"If you feel o.k., Susan, we can start the celebration."
"Yes, I'm fine." she replied.
After everyone else had left, she addressed Prince Stephen. "What happened after I fell?"
Prince Stephen explained that when they heard the queen was dead, the Evil Creatures joined the good side. Also, the Land of Darkness became a nice place. The waters turned clear, the sun shone, the trees had leaves and flowers appeared.
"Now it's time for the celebration!" he said.
During the party, Susan said to Prince Stephen, "I wish I could stay here forever."
"You can't, though. Nobody can control when you return to your world."
After the celebration was over, Susan showed Prince Stephen her walkman and played her tapes. He thought they were "neat".
"I have a feeling you will be leaving soon." said Prince Stephen. "Here. Don't open it until you get back home." He handed Susan a small package.
"Thanks." she said, wondering what was in the package.
"Good-bye!" exclaimed Prince Stephen as he left the room. "Return again someday!"
Susan set her walkman and tape on a table. She set a note on top saying they were for Prince Stephen.
All of a sudden something happened. Before she knew it, Susan was back in the forest by her house. When she checked her calendar watch, it was the same time she had tripped over the root the other day.
Susan ran home.
"Sorry Mom. I didn't notice what time it was." she called as she went up to her room.
Susan flopped down on her old, familiar bed and opened the package.
"The Great Emerald!"
Inside was the Great Emerald, the instructions for how to use it and a note from Prince Stephen.
* * * * *
Susan used the emerald for many good things in her world for many years. Even though nobody else did, Susan knew she was a very important person.