I am certainly not bragging. I have a too-vivid imagination, and sometimes lose track of what is real and what is fantasy. In my current novel-in-progress, I just wrote about kids believing they have used fairy magic to turn a favorite teacher into a swan. (I told you I would work that German Schwan thing into my book.) So here is a brief Canto to show you how that went.
Canto Twenty-Six – In Miss Schwanneke’s Music Class
Miss Swan was busy in the gym, so it was no surprise to Blueberry and the other Norwall kids in her first period class that she was running late. Blueberry decided to use the time to work on the goal of making students believe in fairies. She was armed with a folder filled with colored pencil drawings of fairies. She had carefully crafted them from the descriptions Garriss had given her during those long nights when she was too excited to sleep anyway. Working on the fairy project helped take her mind off the terrible conflict brewing with Tim Kellogg. He had been so mean since his best friend, Tommy Bircher, had moved to Chicago. She was sure the only reason he was being that way was because she was so deeply in love with Mike Murphy, and Mike was Tim’s replacement best friend.
“Those are neat pictures, Blue,” said Bobby Niland, a Norwall farm kid.
“Thanks. Share them around. It will help people believe in fairies.”
“Aw, you Pirates have such weird ideas. Nobody is gonna believe in dumb old fairies!”
“Bobby, you are a Pirate, and you’ve seen Garriss, the fire wisp. How can you not believe in fairies?”
“You guys get me all worked up, talking to the empty air, and I start to see things that aren’t really there. Tim just made up the little fire guy. You know he is always making up all kinds of elaborate lies, and making us believe them.”
“Well, yeah, but…”
“Hey! I like this one with the pretty naked lady with the white wings!” Bobby showed the drawing to its creator.
“Garriss says that one is a storybook named Odette. She’s an immortal fairy princess because of the tale of the Swan Princess.”
“The story of a princess cursed to turn into a swan by day, and can only be a woman at night.”
“Oh, that’s a neat story. Too bad it isn’t true. I’d like to see a naked lady turn into a swan.”
“Well… Garriss did teach me Odette’s spell. He claims it can turn somebody into a swan.”
“Oh, neat! Who can we change?”
“But, Bobby, you don’t believe in the fairy stuff. You just said so.”
“Yeah, well… How about Miss Swan? Her name makes her perfect for the spell!”
It was obvious that Bobby was hot to see Miss Swan naked. He was secretly in love with her, but he drooled over her so openly that everyone from Norwall who really knew him, knew that secret too.
“You know her name is actually Schwanneke, right? Swan is just a nickname.”
“Ah, come on. You said you want me to believe.”
“Well, I don’t want to hurt Miss Swan or anything. She’s a nice teacher.”
There was general restless talking in the classroom. No one was trying to sing any of the pieces they had been learning in class. And no one was paying attention to Bobby and Blue. Blue pulled out the white feather.
“What’s that?” asked Bobby. “Is that part of the spell?”
“It’s the focus item. You have to give it to her and say, Möchten Sie einen Schwan zu werden?”
“What’s that? Pig Latin?”
“German, I think,” Blue answered. “The fairies seem to use German more than other languages.”
Bobby made Blueberry teach him the words again and again until he could say them correctly. In the meantime, Miss Swan came in with something of a cold. She was sniffling and sneezing. Bobby, excited beyond measure, ran up to her, holding out the white feather.
“Möchten Sie einen Schwan zu werden?” he chanted.
“What?” Miss Schwanneke, the vocal music teacher, took the feather. She suddenly looked ill, as if a cold wind had blown in and frozen her very soul. She put a hand over her mouth and ran out of the room.
Everyone began asking each other what was happening, and of course, nobody knew. But two Norwall kids, Bobby Niland and Blueberry Bates, stood staring at each other with white faces. Thirty minutes of rampant speculation, rumors of the teacher’s death in the bathroom, and the eventual arrival in the classroom of a substitute had Bobby looking whiter than a ghost. Blue didn’t feel very well herself.
“Well, class, the period is almost shot,” said Mrs. Thompson the all-purpose substitute teacher. “We will just kinda sit here and wait for the bell. Sit down and be good for a few minutes more. At about that time, they began to hear a ticking sound at the window. Meghan Baumgartner was the first to see it.
“Miss, miss! There’s a big white bird pecking at the window wanting to get in out of the snow!”
Blueberry and Bobby looked at the same moment. It was a huge, white… swan.
Bobby’s pants were immediately soaked, and he, too ran out of the room.