A Story by Lea Sheryn
Peter Pan and Alice set out in search of Gulliver
Late last night, while the Cheshire Cat Moon gleefully grinned in the star-bright sky outside the tall nursery window, Peter and Alice silently slipped out of their beds and, hushing each other in whispered voices, crept away in search of Gulliver. Hitching a ride in a pea green boat, they sailed down the grey-green Thames with the Owl and the Pussycat.
“Where are you going?” asked the curious little tabby. “Who do you seek?” queried the kitty to the kiddies.
“Who? Who?” echoed the Owl in a quandary of sorts. His assistance he would give to the two searching children although his date with the Pussycat had floundered without a flourish.
“Gulliver has gone away,” cried the Lad of Pan in an anguish-filled voice. “We have to find him,” added little blond Alice, with beseeching tears brimming her eyes. “He is our friend and he might need our help.”
Sympathetic green slanted eyes meeting knowledgeable brown orbs, the eloping lovers gave up their romantic tryst to aid the runaway youngsters with nary a word spoken. The pea green vessel plowed forward upon the steady river as an unseen hand drew the undulating waters in charcoal at the approach of the eager travelers.
On and on they sailed as their eyes studied the banks of the wide river Thames. No sign of their friend could be seen on the shore or afloat in a skiff or a little rowboat. No one did they spy until off to the right, singing voices raised in folly were heard in the distance. Pulling the pea green boat closer to shore, the Tweedle Twins a most peculiar sight--were spied grasping hands and dancing ‘round the mulberry bush. “Here we go ‘round and here we go ‘round and here we go ‘round and ‘round and ‘round,” they sang as they giggled and chortled and laughed to their own delight.
“Oh Mr. Dee,” called Alice, waving her little handkerchief laden hand to catch their attention. “Oh Mr. Dum,” yelled Peter as the twins stopped their game to stare at the group on the Thames. “Have you seen Gulliver? Has he passed this way?”
“Mr. Dee went that-a-way,” stated the Dum twin, pointing to the east. “Mr. Dum went that-a-way,” shouted his merry brother Dee as he pointed to the north. With wide open-mouthed grins and jolly jiggling tummies, they giggled and nodded and nodded and giggled.
“No! No!” exclaimed Pan in exasperation as he tried to explain. “We’re looking for Gulliver. Where can he be?”
Both brothers could only scratch their heads simultaneously as they pondered the impossibility of the question. “Best ask the Munchkins,” they finally decided with one voice and more nods. “They would know…they would know…they would know, know, know.” Pointing toward a dense forest that appeared to be drawn with the wide strokes of a jagged piece of lime green sidewalk chalk, the brothers once again clasped hands for another trip ‘round the imaginary mulberry bush.
Bidding farewell to the Owl and his sweetheart, the Pussy Cat, Peter and Alice skipped off toward the chalk-drawn green forest in search of their missing friend, Gulliver. In the heart of the woodland, they discovered the brightly crayon-colored village of the little people. Finding themselves quickly surrounded by miniature mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers with cherry tinged cheeks and plump rounded tummies, the two hopeful children told the story of their wayward companion and asked for advice on how to find him.
“Hmmm,” thought the fathers, and “hmmm,” thought the mothers and “hmmm,” thought the children in imitation of their parents. “He must have gone to the Land of the Lilly’s”, decided the fathers. Agreed to by the mothers and nodded to by the children, the Munchkins declared that Gulliver could be found in the Lilly-land.
“But how do we find him?” asked Peter and Alice in one voice as they dreamed of a place where the wild lilies grew.
“Stick to the Road, the Road of Bricks, the Road that’s Yellow and Made of Bricks,” exclaimed the Munchkins all at once as they pointed downward to the road at their feet. Wagging their heads up and down in unison, the little ones grabbed Peter and Alice by the hand to help them on their way with a skip and a hop and a jump and a run.
On and on, the children followed the winding road of bricks without hearing a sound or seeing a soul. Were they on the path to nowhere? both questioned in their minds without speaking a word. How were they going to find Gulliver and get back to the nursery before daylight? they queried to themselves. The fear that they were hopelessly lost had suddenly become a reality.
“Do not fear, little Alice,” said the sturdy youth of Pan. “I am brave and will protect you if you will say you trust me.”
“I will trust you, fearless Peter,” whispered Alice in her smallest voice, “but I can be brave, too, even though you believe you have to defend me. But, tell me truthfully, are we hopelessly lost?” The road seemed endlessly long and the forest marching along beside it was becoming menacingly darker as they moved along.
As young Peter was preparing his response, the sound of children’s laughter could be heard rolling down a narrow path leading from the yellow road of bricks. Taking Alice by the hand and hoping for a little help, he led the way into the tall trees in the direction of the voices. What a wonderous sight appeared before their eyes in the clearing! A house made of gingerbread, trimmed in gumdrops and licorice whips greeted them along with two chocolate-faced youngsters of around the age of four.
“Give it to me, Hansel,” screamed the girl as she pulled a sticky pink lollipop from the boy’s blond-haired bob. “I saw it first, Gretel,” countered the boy as he grabbed to take it back. Like a couple of lumberjacks pulling a two-person saw, they pulled the lollypop back and pulled it forth and pulled in a mighty tug-of-war.
“Pardon me,” stated Alice, stepping forward to make her presence known. “Have you seen Gulliver? Did he pass this way?”
“They can’t hear you,” disdainfully stated a tall thin man dressed in purple velvet cutaway jacket, top hat and striped trousers as he stepped forward to greet the young seekers. “They’re greedy little monsters who won’t stop eating until they reach their fill and burst.” Swiftly taking off his top hat, he made an elegant bow and introduced himself. “Most people call me the Candy Man but my real name’s Willie. How can I assist you two lovely little children on this fine day?”
“We’re looking for Gulliver, if you please, kind sir,” declared Alice in her most polite speaking to elder’s voice. “Have you seen him, Mr. Candy Man? Did he come this way?”
“Well, let me see,” drawled Mr. Willie in his smoothest talking to children voice. “Gulliver, did you say? Ah, yes, he came by about an hour ago. He had a taste for a sweetie or two, so he took a skiff down the chocolate river to the candy factory. I can take you to him if you don’t mind a boat ride.” As he spoke a big wide grin appeared across his jolly face.
“We don’t mind,” Peter and Alice simultaneously exclaimed. “We came down the Thames with the Owl and Pussycat in their pea green boat. If you can take us to Gulliver, we would like to go down the chocolate river with you.” How could they go wrong with the Candy Man leading the way? they considered with little thought. All little children know if anyone can, the Candy Man can.
Just as they were stepping into the Candy Man’s boat, a voice called out from the green crayon-colored trees above them. “Don’t go with him, kiddies. Gulliver isn’t on the chocolate river. He’s on the Puttian Island of Lili. I can take you there.” Much to the amazement of Peter and Alice, a large red dragon flew out of the forest to land at their feet.
“Are you sure, Mr. Dragon? Did you see him? Did you really see Gulliver?” Alice inquired in a voice that sounded like pleading.
“Why certainly I can, little girl,” assured the Magic Dragon. “But only if you stop calling me Mr. Dragon. You see, my father was Mr. Dragon. I’m called Puff.”
“How do we get to the Island of Lili?” Alice asked, not finished with her questions.
“Oh, that’s easy!” exclaimed Puff. “It’s past the…”
“Of course!” shouted Peter as the answer suddenly dawned on him. “It’s the third star to the right!” As the lad jumped for joy, he spread his arms wide and was suddenly flying. “Come on, Alice! I know the way!”
“Oooh! But I can’t fly, Peter,” Alice called from the ground. “And Tink’s not here with the fairy dust. Oh, dear, what can I do now?”
“It’s easy, Little Alice,” called Puff as he rose from the ground on his mighty wings. “You can hitch a ride with me. I have to pass that way. You see Neverland is the second star to the right, Lilliput is the third and…”
“Hon-a-Lee is the fourth!” shouted Peter from on high. “Come on, Alice, we’re on our way!”
Without so much as a good-bye to the Candy Man who waved his top hat at them from the ground, the Lad from Pan and the Magic Dragon, with the little blond girl on his back, flew off into the night sky in the direction of the stars. It wasn’t long before they were passing the third star to the right and landing on the lsle of Lillies.
Running into the miniature village of Lilliput, the children discovered their friend, Gulliver, stretched out on his back and tied up with tiny threads crossing and crisscrossing his entire body. “OH NO! NOT AGAIN!” exclaimed Alice and Peter, as they knelt in the cobbled town square to untie the wee little knots.
“Oh no! Not again,” the echoing voice came from a far distance. “C’mon, Aminta, wake up. You’ll be late for school…again.”
“Hmmm…huh?” slurred the African American girl as she was shaken out of a deep sleep. “What…what time is it?”
“Time you were getting ready for school, young miss,” the mother announced as she bent down to pick up the book that was lying opened on the floor. “You haven’t been reading this old thing again? Aren’t you too old for fairy tales?” Carefully the mother settled the book, entitled Encyclopedia of Children’s Stories featuring the works of James Barrie, Lewis Carroll, Jonathan Swift and Roald Dahl, on the nightstand beside her daughter’s bed.
“You’re never too old, mother,” the pajama-clad girl muttered as she threw the covers back, stood up and headed to the bathroom to brush her teeth. Out of the hearing of her mother, she exclaimed as she faced her morning reflection in the mirror: “Oh Winken, Oh Blinken, Oh Nod, why must you visit me with dreamscapes from the fairy tale world when I should be thinking about algebra, the Russian Revolution and the wonders of the deep blue sea?”