By Penny Lane -
Delia ran. Delia skipped. Delia hopped and jumped and scampered.
Jasper sauntered. Jasper moseyed. Jasper ambled, and meandered, and dilly dallied.
Delia skipped around Jasper, singing “tra, la, la, la, la!”
Jasper paused to look at a leaf.
“Jasper! Hurry,” Delia squealed. “We’ll be late for the party at Jack’s house.”
“Jack's parties are boring. Always with the story of that confounded beanstalk and the gobs and gobs of gold.”
“Jack shares his golden eggs with me,” Delia retorted.
“You go on ahead then little sister,” Jasper insisted, shooing her away. “I’ve got an investigation to make.”
He took a magnifying glass out of his pocket and was just bending down to have a closer look at an interesting insect, when his sister’s voice came soaring back down the path, piercing the air and meeting his eardrum full blast.
“Jaaaaassspppeerrrr! Come see, come see!!!”
Jasper stood up the way only Jasper could, slowly…. carefully. His words imitated his movements.
“Delia. Whatever it is will certainly wait. I’m investigating….”
Delia grabbed Jasper's sleeve and pulled, “this…,” Delia tugged, “…can’t…,” Delia hopped as she pulled, “…wait!”
Delia ran ahead and back again twice before Jasper was far enough on the path to see what all the excitement was about.
Jasper dropped his magnifying glass, “I’ll need a much bigger one of those,” he said.
Before them stood the largest specimen of growth, and home for other growth, Jasper had ever seen.
“I told you Jack was telling the truth!” Through Delia’s bouncing you could barely see the smile that gobbled up her face. “Let’s go,” she said, trying to boost herself up to the lowest giganormous leaf.
“I’ll need to get some supplies,” said Jasper, beginning to walk away.
“Suit yourself,” said Delia. “But don’t tell Momma where we’re going!”
“I have to tell…” Jasper began. “No, nope, this time I think you’re right, little sister. Mom would never agree, and this is definitely something that needs exploring. Don’t climb too high! I shall return.”
And, for the first time in his life, Jasper ran.
Delia climbed slowly. Only because it was slow going. She was a small wee person compared to this giant stalk of the bean growing in the middle of the path. As she climbed, she wondered out loud.
“Maybe Jack dropped some of those magic beans, or maybe that peddler came back around and spilled some. Maybe we’ll see the giant or maybe...Oh, why am I so small? I wish I could get to the top of the beanstalk in the blink of an eye.”
Delia blinked her eyes and suddenly her head was in the clouds. Misty wisps of moisture breezed by. Looming in the distance was a humongous castle.
“Just like Jack said!”
Delia pulled herself up and began to run toward the castle. “I wonder what the giant’s made off with recently that I could steal back?”
Delia was running so fast she barely noticed, when coming out of the woods, she was suddenly on a street. She stopped just short of getting smashed by a horse and carriage.
Delia was mesmerized by what she saw. Lining the street were carts, and booths, filled with strange wares for sale.
“Wing sale!” A large man yelled. “Buy two, get one free!”
“Potion powders! Get your potion powders!” a merchant called.
“A riddle for a wish!” another voice boomed.
“Just like market, but with magical things to buy!” Delia squealed. “Hmmm…only one problem, I have no money.”
In a flash the merchant calling about riddles and wishes was in her face. “No money! Well, we’ll have to do away with you then.”
“Do away with me? But I haven’t even tried to buy anything yet,” said Delia. “Are you going to feed me to the giant?”
The merchant’s body bended. His face came down low; his breath warm and smelly in Delia’s face.
She trembled for a moment, and then saw the gleam in his eye.
“You’re pulling my leg!” she said, smiling.
“Ahhhhahahahahaha! I had you there for a minute though,” said the merchant. “But you do have to pay for the wish you bought on credit.”
“The wish…? Oh, I did wish I could get up the bean stalk faster, didn’t I! But how do I pay, can I work it off or something?”
“Ha! Little lass! We’re all magical here! Do you really think we need money, or people to work for us?”
“Umm…well…, what do you need then?”
“It’s a riddle,” said the merchant.
“What do you mean? You’re not going to tell me how to pay?”
“Not at all, small sweetie. Didn’t you hear my booming barker’s bellow?”
Delia twirled her pony tail. She knitted her brow. Suddenly she hopped on one foot as recollection filled her mind. “A riddle for a wish! So, do I get to ask or answer?”
“Answer, of course,” said the merchant. “I know all the riddles, I collect them you see, so I’m very sure the likes of you couldn’t possibly stump the likes of me!”
“You made a rhyme!”
“Ahahahaha! Tiny tot, you make my insides smile right through to my belly so much that it overflows into my mouth and exits forth with a great guffaw!” And he sighed a heavy sigh, and added, “laughing is such an amazing thing, ain’t it!”
“You make me smile and laugh too!” she said between gurgling giggles.
“Ahh giggling girl, now we must get serious. Here is your riddle.”
Delia straightened up. She put her hand over her mouth and tried not to laugh. “Hee, hee, heh, heh, hee, hee, heh…”