Natalie ran through the forest as fast as she could with the monster right behind her. The monster gave a loud roar and snapped his sharp fangs and claws at the air towards her. She picked up her pace and with a great leap jumped another couple of yards ahead of the beast. To this the ogre roared even louder and began to pounce at her. Distracted by its anger, the monster caught its toe under a fallen limb and its great leap turned into a disastrous tumble.
“You’ll never take my Pyfe!” Natalie yelled through the laughter she made at the clumsy monster. She gave one last big push and managed to get far enough away from the fiend that it disappeared. Once the scary oafs got far enough away they ceased to be. A monster you can not see does not exist.
She felt in her pocket to make sure she still had her precious Pyfe as she always did every couple of minutes. It was her very own Pyfe and she would never let anyone take it from her. Comforted by it’s security, Natalie took her hand from her pocket and began to sing. While she did so she found some berry bushes and stopped to pick some of the sweet, juicy morsels. As she filled her pockets with the fruit she heard a meow nearby. Following the source of the sound she came across a black kitten.
“Hello Mr. Crowley.” she said, naming the cat as an introduction. “I am your princess. I am the princess of all of these lands and the sacred guardian of the Pyfe. Do you have any candy?”
The cat purred and rubbed itself against her leg but did not offer any candy or a reply to her request.
“Well, nonetheless,” she declared, “I shall make you a knight and you shall join me on my adventures.”
The cat gave a quizzical meow and leaned into her little hands as she stroked his back gently. She tried to give the cat one of her berries but the cat was even more confused by this and instead spun a half dozen circles chasing its tail. Natalie laughed at the silly cat, ate a few of the berries herself, and then began on her merry way once more.
“Come on, Sir Crowley.” she commanded with a royal air and the cat began to follow her if only out of curiosity.
The two of them walked for a few hours before its started to show signs of getting dark soon. Natalie did not particularly like being alone in the woods after dark, and even though her knightly companion was with her, she hoped they would find somewhere cozier to spend the night than in the cool, musty forest. Somewhere where she and her Pyfe would be safe against monsters.
They eventually found a small cottage in the forest with warm glowing windows and smoke spinning lazily from the chimney. Mr. Crowley ran ahead of her and meowed at the door, but no one answered the kittens tiny yet persistent calls. When Natalie got to the door she gave a few brisk polite knocks. A strange man answered the door. Natalie told the odd man with the weird beard that she hoped he might have a place for her and her brave companion to rest for the night.
“Sure thing, turd bucket.” he answered jovially while smiling and winking at her.
“I am not a turd bucket!” she protested. “You are the turd bucket!”
The man gave a long laugh and she eventually joined him in it. “No. I am the swifty sorceror known around here as Joshua the Wizard. And you would be Princess Natalie. I have been awaiting you. Please come in and make yourself at home, Natalie. And Mr. Crowley, too.”
Joshua the Wizard went to the the kitchen to pour a dish of milk and a glass of chocolate milk for his guests as they explored his main living space. There were musical instruments and typewriters and pencils, markers and paints all over the place. This place was like a workshop of creativity. When the wizard returned to the room Natalie asked him, “What is this place?”
“This,” he said, “is my Pyfe.”
Natalie was startled. How did the wizard know about her Pyfe, she wondered? As far as she knew there was only one Pyfe and it was hers. Suddenly she was scared.
“You’ll never take my Pyfe!” she reckoned with as much force as she could muster.
“Nope.” Joshua beamed at her. Then giggling he went on. “I will never take your Pyfe and you can never take mine. Everybody has their very own Pyfe and though some peoples are bigger than others nobody can take or keep another persons Pyfe. Ever.”
Grasping her pocket she asked suspiciously, “Really?
“Really.” he said nodding at her comfortingly.
“Why not?” Natalie wondered aloud.
“Because your Pyfe is just your imagination.” the wizard answered.
“No.” the girl protested. “My Pyfe is real.” She pulled it out of her pocket and watched the mesmerizing shimmer in its seemingly infinite surface.
Joshua the Wizard looked closely into her hand. He did not see anything.
“There is nothing there, Natalie.” he spoke at last. “Only you can see your own imagination. It is not a thing.”
“Then how can this be your Pyfe that we are standing in?” she questioned proudly, thinking she had seen through the wizards game.
“This is just a story, Natalie. It came from my imagination. I wrote it when you were just a little girl and you used to run around yelling- ‘You’ll never take my Pyfe!’ for no apparent reason. It was just your imagination. So I brought you here into this story, into one of the many worlds of my imagination, to remind you all of your life that even though your imagination is not real the things in your imagination can become real if you use them to make stories, poems, paintings, sculptures, songs or whatever your imagination can conjure them out of. That is why we are here and that is what makes life beautiful.”
Joshua went on, “Just as you now hold the spark of your imagination in your hand and begin to learn what it is, someday your Pyfe may be as big as mine, encompassing all kinds of people and places real and imaginary combined. Or even bigger! Maybe someday you can use yours to write your own niece or nephew a story, or write them a song, or even paint them a picture to always remind them how important their imagination is and that nobody can ever take it from them.”
Mr. Crowley meowed in delight at the wizard and Natalie smiled a smile as big as she possibly could and jumped into the wizards arms with a surprise hug that seemed to delight him as much as startle him. The kitten climbed at their legs trying to join their embrace when suddenly Natalie pulled away from the wizard and looked at him very gravely, then…
“THEY’LL NEVER TAKE MY PYFE!” she yelled out as loud as she could, and her and the wizard and the cat all laughed for a very, very long time.