“Magic Needles” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Yaroslav Kharchenko, Lozova Gymnasium, Ukraine.
Once upon a time long, long ago in a faraway country Kosmolapiya, in a large old forest, under a wide and thick oak, lived a hedgehog named Force. He lived with his wonderful family, his wife hedgehog Fanny and sons Fenny and Frannie. Every day Force went to the forest with his sons to pick up berries, mushrooms and apples, to collect supplies for the winter. He was a big workaholic. He taught his children work since their childhood because a worldly-wise hedgehog knew that there was no sweet without sweat.
And one day, as usual, the hedgehog and his sons went into the forest. Although the weather was wonderful and quiet, they enjoyed walking. The road was very long and they did not know they should be on the watch for danger. Very deep in the forest they went across the Grumpy Dwarf who wanted to take away their supplies. Force, certainly, was not going to give him the berries, they had gathered so hard and thoroughly. The Dwarf was furious at one of Force’s sons, Fenny and threw his magic shoe which could turn everybody and everything into a stone.
The little hedgehog stopped and began slowly transforming into a stone. The day became dull and grey. There was a strong biting wind, shaking trees around them. The Dwarf disappeared as quickly as he had appeared. Force whispered in despair: “What shall I tell Fanny? How can I save my little son?” He ran home in a hurry. At home he told his wife what had happened. Wrapped up in a great grief, they began to think how to save Fenny. Mother Fanny remembered that once a squirrel had mentioned that on the other side of the forest, under a big mushroom lived the old kind Dwarf, who knew a lot of different things.
Force did not want to waste any second and decided to set off immediately in a search of the wise Dwarf. He was wandering restlessly for a night and half of a day until he came to a meadow, where the big mushroom grew. But, how to find the Dwarf? The grass quietly stirred, the flowers rose their heads, there was an owner of the meadow- the old Dwarf. Force apologized for disturbing the peace of the old Dwarf and talked about his problem. Old Dwarf nodded and told that he knew about the antics of the evil Dwarf. Force asked to help dispel the son.
The old Dwarf agreed, but warned Force that he had to sacrifice something and hurry to. The power of the old Dwarf acted only one day.
He whispered some words, and needles of Force sparkled. The needles became magical. The old Dwarf told Force that he should go to the son immediately, then he needed to pull out the four magical needles from his body and stick them into Fenny. He had to hurry. Time was almost out.
Force thanked the Dwarf for help and went on the journey. It was an exhausting way, but the desire to save his son gave him strength.
And, finally the hedgehog’s father got to the stone. With a great difficulty and pain he wrenched from his body four magical needles. Next he stuck them into his son. The grass stirred, the birds started singing and Fenny began to revive. Force could not believe his eyes.
Father and Fenny got home safely. Joy filled the house of the hedgehogs. The whole family hugged. Love worked wonders. They were happy together again!