Little Red Riding Hood wasn’t so little anymore. In fact, she was a full-grown woman, and not only that, but a powerful sorceress, too. The only remains of her past were the red riding hood she always wore, whatever the weather, and her nickname: Red.
Billy, for his part, had changed very little. He was the Big Bad Wolf, or at least, that was what the wanted posters and frightened villagers called him, but in reality it couldn’t be further from the truth. Behind his thick muscles, woolly beard and rough shirt lay a soft heart. He was a great teacher to Red and he knew exactly who he was.
When we last saw our heroes, and I do use that term lightly, they were hiding in the bushes, waiting outside the lair of the dragon, the ground covered in smelly snake guts designed to wake the monster’s rage.
They spent many long, tedious, hours waiting. Norm looked around and found some mushrooms, which Elric encouraged him to try, but Kvok was convinced they were deadly poisonous, and this lead into an endless debate which made Norm regret finding the mushrooms in the first place.
When we last saw our hero-in-training, Norm, and his ghostly teacher, Elric, they were walking at a sensible pace through the forest to recover the King’s lost pegasus. After several hours of walking, filled with Elric insisting they (quietly) play a variety of childish word games, they arrived at the cave where the creature was hiding.
Once there was a boy called Norm who lived with his stepmother. Like all stepmothers, she was wicked, and she spent all day shouting at Norm.
‘It’s freezing in here! Where’s the firewood? Oh, if only Sabrina were here!’
Sabrina was her own daughter, who had died the day Norm was born, the same day that Norm’s father abandoned them in the dirty little hut where they lived. So Norm grew up under the thumb of his cruel stepmother, never allowed to play with other children, go too far away from the house or even to have time to himself.
Once upon a time, there lived three dragons on three mountains. They were brothers, and each ruled over their own mountain. One was black, called Ba, one was red, called Ra, and one was green, called Ga. In the middle of the three mountains lay a small kingdom, ruled over by a human king, but the dragons paid little attention to this.
Within the kingdom, however, the dragons caused much anxiety.
Once upon a time, there was a forest far away from the rest of humankind. In this forest, there lived mice, birds, rabbits and so on, but this was no ordinary forest.
The King of the Forest was a stag, who had wandered there after being thrown out from his family. Growing up, he was a weak, sad child, and when his horns emerged they were bent and broken. His family rejected him, sending him away from their home to find his own way in life. So he found a forest where the animals appreciated him, and soon he was so popular that they made him king.
Once upon a time, there was a talented cello player. She loved her cello like a son, and practised on it for hours every day. Sometimes, she concentrated so hard that she could practically see the notes floating in the air around her.
But one day, as she sat down to practise before breakfast, she was met with a rude surprise: as she put the bow to the strings, the cello spoke.
Once there was a man made of paper. He was called the Paper Man. He lived in a town called Dull. In Dull, the people hated anyone strange. They hated clowns, they hated magic people and they hated anyone who didn’t do what they did. Of course, they hated the Paper Man as well, because humans are not made of paper!
You have probably heard of a certain mermaid, who came from Denmark and fell in love with a human prince. She made a deal with a witch, turned into a human and tried to win his heart, but she was unable to. So she turned into sea water and disappeared.
Well, I’m sorry to say that the mermaid in this story does not fall in love with any evil prince living in a fancy castle, nor does she turn into water. If you’re looking for a sad ending, you’ll have to go elsewhere.