Once there lived a king. He was famous because he was very clever. He knew everything that happened in his country. Nobody knew how he knew everything. It was like the secrets came to him through the air.
Once there was a very hungry dragon called Grella. Every day she ate five meals. For breakfast she had ten bananas, five fried eggs, and three slices of toast. For her mid-morning snack she had twenty chocolate biscuits and three cups of tea. For lunch she had twenty bowls of soup and thirty loaves of bread. After lunch, she was very tired, so she slept for an hour, and when she woke up she had a jar of pickles, because she loved the salty taste. Finally, for supper she had a roast pig covered with honey and herbs.
Once there was a poor man with a son. The man could not look after his son anymore, so the son said to him, ‘Dear father. Things are bad here, and you have to work hard to look after me. Let me leave, and I will look after myself.’
Once there was a father with two sons. The older son, Hugh, was smart and sensible, and could do everything, but the younger son, Anders, was stupid and understood nothing. Whenever the father needed help, it was always the older son who helped him.
Prague was a city of mystery. It was a city of narrow streets and broad desires. It was a city of money, magic, and murder.
It was also a city of hate. The Jews of Prague lived in the ghetto, and they were attacked from all sides. People spread lies. They said that the Jews did magic, that they attacked Christian girls, that they went into churches at night and destroyed the holy body of Christ. The Jews of Prague were poor, and still, people came and threw rocks at their houses, shouted names at them in the street, and refused to sell them food.
Far away from our world, there were the Blue Castle and the Red Castle. In the Blue Castle, everything was soft and blue, and Izod was the softest fairy of all. Izod loved her land, and the land loved her. It was a happy place, but at times it was very sad. When one of the High Fairies died, all the people cried for days. Izod cried more than everyone else. She had a big heart, and beautiful wings. They called them her “wings of water”.
Xu’s room was a mess. Steve thought his was bad, with jewels and bones and spellbooks everywhere, but at least in his room you could see the floor. Everywhere in her bedroom, there were pieces of paper, old fast food boxes, apple cores, magazines, and polaroids. There was some genuinely nice art on her walls, but the complete mess everywhere else distracted from it.
Steve hadn’t been joking. There was a circle of thick candles on the floor, and a table had been placed in the middle, with expensive cloth on top. Elisabeth was impressed. She’d been in professional productions with far worse sets than this.