by Anushka Iyengar
Gorch stomped his heavy, green, warty feet. Children all scattered as he came near; animals ran to hide as he crossed over them. Muttering inaudible words, he trudged all the way to Frangipani Castle where the queen had requested him to visit.
As he entered the courtyard, a servant dressed in a blue uniform hemmed with golden stitches escorted him inside. Gorch marvelled at the clean kitchen with absolutely no broken dishes and no muddy footprints, so different from what he was used to. Pushing past the sliding glass doors, they entered the royal gardens adorned with flowers of many colours and sizes and hedges perfectly trimmed into box-like shapes. Suddenly, with a flurry of sparkles and golden stars, two fairies appeared, both with beautifully delicate wings and gold encrusted dresses.
“Lame,” coughed Gorch.
The queen seemed offended. “I’d like to see how you magically appear when your magic stops working. Acacia, show him.”
The queen stepped back so her daughter Acacia could demonstrate a simple “rock to toad” spell. Waving her wand around, she shot the spell at a rounded rock, the magic fizzed and more sparkles flew everywhere, but nothing else happened.
“That has nothing to do with me!” Gorch protested.
“Oh, it will,” the queen told him. With a simple flick of the wrist and all the magic she could muster, she turned Gorch into a monkey. Gorch’s gold and green ears became rounder and less goblin-ish. His feet became less warty and green, and he grew a long, brown tail.
“You need to find all the ingredients on the list and collect them in this jar. Most of them will be found in the jungle, or in trees, hence the monkey.” She gestured towards him. “We’re depending on you, so this should help.”
The queen whistled a very high whistle and a mighty golden eagle appeared! Scooping up Gorch, the eagle soared high into the air.
Gorch clutched the list tightly in his hand. The first dot point read: A single drop of honey from the sweetest hive. Just then, he spotted an apiary. Perfect! Tapping the eagle gently, he motioned for him to land but instead, the eagle went for a nosedive!
CRASH! BANG! BONK!
Gorch rubbed his button nose. He felt much better now that he was a monkey as he had something else besides his hands to hit the eagle with. Except he didn’t because he had no time for that, he had honey to sample.
As soon as the elf beekeeper left, Gorch sprang to his feet and began sticking his finger in just about every hive he could find. Savoury, sour, meh, not particularly nice, woah way too sweet, ha! This one! He held up the hive and stuck his finger inside once more. Droopy, oozy, golden honey dribbled out and a single drop fell into the jar.
The eagle squawked and flew away.
“HEY! Come back!” Gorch called, but the eagle was already miles away.
The next point read: A fresh drop of morning dew. Well, how was he supposed to get that? It was already afternoon. The one after read: The rays of sun at sunrise. Grr! He’d have to wait till tomorrow to get those and he didn’t like waiting at all.
In the early hours of the next morning, Gorch set off to venture on to the highest cliff to catch the rays of the morning sun. Once he reached the top, he covered his eyes as a finger of sun stroked his cheek. The glass jar glistened as the ray of sun was trapped inside. Two down, one to go!
Tumbling down the cliff, he fell right into a raspberry bush. With a sigh of relief, he began inspecting the leaves. What! No dew, no dew at all. Using his tail, he grasped onto a nearby tree and began inspecting those leaves but still no dew.
“What’s going on?” he called not expecting an answer.
He climbed higher and higher, but still no dew. Suddenly, Gorch heard a magical fizzle. CRACKLE! FIZZ! POP! His tail disappeared, his ears became pointier and his feet became warty again. For about a second, he seemed to stay in the air and then … BONG!
Just in time, the eagle flew by and picked up Gorch with cheerful squawk. Gorch smiled, not because he was happy to see the eagle, but because he was happy to see what was on the eagle’s beak: DEW!
Adding it to the jar, Gorch tapped the eagle and off they went.
They neared the castle and Gorch seemed to get more and more excited. This time, the queen greeted them as they entered the courtyard. Gorch handed her the jar and they rushed inside, excited to get their magic working again.
On the kitchen table, there sat a pot of hot bubbling liquid. Carefully, the queen poured the mixture in and stirred it with her wand. A trail of magical dust floated through the palace and leaked out to the rest of the kingdom.
“Thank you Gorch, I’ll transport you home now,” the queen told him.
“Thank you for choosing me to be the one to help the fairies,” he said, bowing.
“Oh! I had the brew ready before you even returned. That whole thing was just so our kingdom could live without fear of Gorch the Goblin for a day or so. Anyways, toodlepip!” she called, and with a wave of her magic wand … POOF! Gorch was back home in his messy house grumbling inaudible words.