The Defiant Little Giant

The bear bore down on a wide-eyed little girl who swept a cloak of feathers over her shoulder and seemed to vanish. She didn’t really vanish. The little girl, whose named was Turtle, had transformed into a little blue bird that darted out from under the massive girth of the lunging beast. She swooped around and flapped and rose up into the air. On one side, the bird saw the silver harper playing her enchanted harp, trying to sooth the savage bear. On the other side was the giant, wider than three strong men, taller than a cornstalk. He wasn’t always so. He wasn’t always a giant. He was once a scrawny young man. The harper was once a traveling songstress. The bird-girl was once just a girl. All three were as they were now because of some magic beans.

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The Red Magic Dread

Where is the red one? Where did it fall?

The little blue bird named Turtle flew over the same valley she had searched dozens of times over the past few moons. Something caught her eye and she alighted on a low branch of a beech. She had seen red. It was curious. She cocked her to the left and the right. There was red dripping from the bushes below, smeared into the dirt. She might have thought it was blood if there hadn’t been so much of it that no creature could have shed that much. Save perhaps a giant. The thought made her ruffle her iridescent blue feathers. She heard voices in the woods. The voices of men. Of hunters. Turtle launched off the branch and swooped away.

It must have shattered or broken, falling from such a height, she thought. It must be gone. Her eyes were sharp, but even so, she had set herself an impossible task. She sought the tiniest of quarries in terrain covered with trees, rivers, lakes, and stone. For the flying Turtle sought a red bean.

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The Blue Magic Stew

Turtle kept her mouth clamped as the carriage she had been thrown into hit another bump in. She had already bitten her tongue twice. She was certain she would have bruises on her legs, from knocking against something each time the carriage turned right. Her hands and feet were tightly bound, as was the sack into which she’d been stuffed. Her head and hands were on the bottom end of the sack. She had only managed to bring her hands up to cover her head.

Thus far, she had managed not to cry, and she took solace and courage from that thought. But as the carriage hitched up again, so came a hitch in her chest. She wanted to be a warrior someday. But this day, she was just a little girl…

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