Star & The Book of Treasures
Zum ziddle zigh ziddle zrum ziddle zree and a zrum zrum zigh ziddle zum ziddle zree.
Oh how good it is to be singing the song of the champions again with you. Welcome, welcome, children, to the story. I am so glad you came to the Living Tale library. We’re just about to read Star McKenzie’s story. Please take your seats on the cushions or climb a tree if you are more comfortable up there.
Ah, yes, the little one with so many questions who sits at my feet, hello! I’m glad you’re back. And I see you have brought some new friends with you to listen to our tale. From the looks on their faces, they have not been in the Living Tale library. Let me assure you there are no ants crawling or bugs biting in here. Yes, children, sit anywhere you like. It is a perfect day for a story.
Now that you are comfortable, may I introduce myself? I am Drake Balio, general of the Gardener’s Iodian Army; that’s the purple army on your side of the reflection. I am also narrator of the Living Tale. What is the Living Tale, my new friend? That is a very good question. It is the story we are all born into, and it is this tale that has the power to transform an orphan into a powerful child, a tale that overcomes cold death with amazing life, and a tale that brings victory to the least likely conqueror. Its twists and turns cover many places, so it will take many books to unfold. Today we are jumping into the Book of Treasures.
Permit me to show you around, my new friends, before we start our journey. We wouldn’t want you wandering off into a book and getting lost. You see, all our books are alive here in the Refreshing, so we can enter them at any time and walk around. On your side of the reflection you can enter through the mirror in the Book, but we’ll talk about that later. First, I want to show you the book we read yesterday. Now where did the curator put it? Ah, yes, here it is.
Everyone who enters the Living Tale for the first time goes into the Book of Heroes. You can find it here in this one large volume that we fondly call The Book. It holds all the different books we read. Why just yesterday we read from Henley and the Book of Heroes. What fun that was! Let me tell you a little bit about him before I introduce Star to you.
Henley Banks is a nine-year-old boy from Shernod who has been learning how exciting it can be to have his hero’s heart ignited. What is a hero’s heart? Well, that is another good question. You see, everyone is born with seeds of greatness lying dormant in their hearts. Only after meeting the Gardener, the King of the Living Tale, do these seeds germinate into a flaming hero’s heart. That’s when things really get exciting, because the new hero sets out on many adventures, each growing a new part of that heart until it is large and hot. Inside the Living Tale these hearts look like white-hot stones that we call heart stones out of which grows a fiery tree of greatness. Some of these trees are flaming oaks, others are blazing fir trees, but Henley’s was a radiant cherry tree. It is all the Gardener’s mysterious work.
Speaking of mysterious, Henley and his family have been chosen to lead the charge in the coming battle against Toolended, sworn enemy of the Gardener. No one would suspect an everyday family from Shernod could do such a mighty thing, but the Gardener sees a courageous family. Before they can meet Toolended on the battlefield, though, they need to rescue precious family and friends taken captive by him. That’s why Henley risked his life to save Grandpa in Hadrell’s lair, and that’s why he fell to his death trying to help his best friend Jeffrey. No, no, child, he is not dead still. Remember, the Living Tale has the power to overcome death, so with the help of his family, he recovered. His friend, however, is still under Toolended’s power, and Henley is eager to go into his next book to free him.
Anyone who has met our friend Henley knows he has a big heart that acts first and thinks second. If someone he loves is hurt, he’s there to help. Another thing to know about Henley is that sometimes he acts annoying, but inside he is really an honorable knight. This gets him into a lot of dangerous places, but the Gardener knows how to get him out.
Now that brings me to my next mystery. At exactly the same time Henley is having his adventures around the Living Tale in the Book of Heroes, the Gardener is weaving Star into his life for an important reason. He is going to desperately need her in his next book. To the reader it looks like two different books, but to the Gardener it is the same story taking place in different parts of the world. Star is someone Henley will need as soon as he finishes the Book of Heroes. But before she can help him, she needs some help of her own. You see, Star forgot about her heart a long time ago, so it needs reviving. Just as Henley had to discover who he was before he could fly to his Grandpa’s side, so Star must know who she is before she can—Oh, there I go again—I cannot tell you that. Those of us on this side of the reflection sometimes have trouble telling stories to you within the reflection. It all happens at the same moment for us because we are not inside of time. The Gardener, on the other hand, is a master at weaving stories in and out of each other so that you only see little bits at a time.
Now let me turn your attention to the back of the Living Tale Library. That busy little Glone is Curator Midledorph. Yes, little one, that’s right. You almost said his name. Just remember it’s not pronounced like middle; it has a longer I sound like mighty to it. That’s right—Midledorf (M-eye- dle- dorf ). Now, please do not disturb him while he is working, for he has the difficult task of organizing our living stories. This means that when someone like Henley is finished with one book and is ready to move to a new one, Curator Midledorph transfers him.
We’ll talk more about that later and what all those flashing lights on the book bindings mean. Above all, though, do not touch his hand. If you do, you will immediately transfer into whatever book he has in his hands. It can be a very dangerous place if you are not ready to enter a new book.
Speaking of ready, shall we meet Star? She is about to enter the Living Tale through the Book of Treasures. Let’s join her. She’s the one sitting over there in the sand, crying.
Why is she crying, little one? Let’s jump in and find out. Remember, our stories are alive, so we may enter them at any time. You may want to bring a sun hat; it is very hot in the deserts of Iraq.