Sub-junior 1st Prize Winning Story
“The Unknown Secret Of An Ancient Necklace” by Senarath Mudalige Dona Shiyendri, St. Bridget’s Convent, Colombo 07, Sri Lanka, is the First Prize winning story in the sub-junior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2018.
The Unknown Secret Of An Ancient Necklace
Once upon a time, in a village, a young girl lived in an orphanage where the people working were cruel to the children there.
Natali, the young girl, was an orphan whose parents died of an accident just one year after the child's birth. Her aunt Rosetta was kind enough to take care of Natali for four years after the death of the parents of the child. But after four years, aunt Rosetta herself gave birth to three daughters and a boy and the house became crowded that one person had to go. It was Natali. Aunt Rosetta felt sorry for the girl but as something had to be done she took Natali and entered her to the orphanage.
"Oh! Another busy day," said Natali. She had stayed in the orphanage for about three years and her age was almost eight. Now that she was elder, and she had to work in the orphanage. Natali had to scrub the floor, wash the plates and ring the bell when it was time for tea.
There was a rule that if anyone forgets or does not do the work on time, the punishment will be getting beaten thrice with a huge stick. Natali never got beaten until one day. She was scrubbing the floor when a little girl named Chubbila came and took the cloth that she was scrubbing with and ran and hid it. Natali spent the whole evening looking for the cloth and found it after about twenty minutes past tea time. Then only she remembered the bell. Natali ran towards it and rang the bell holding the dirty, wet cloth from the other hand.
Few minutes later, there was a message to Natali from the manager of the orphanage to come to the office. Natali hoped that it was for some good news. When she went inside she tried to greet the manager but was scolded by him. He told her that she has done four wrong things. "First, not finishing scrubbing the floor, second, ringing the bell after tea time, third, ringing the bell holding a dirty cloth and lastly, greeting me when you know that you have done many mistakes," he shouted.
"But sir," started Natali. "Wait, I have not yet finished." the manager said with a wicked smile on his face. With eyes looking as fierce as a lion's eye the manager hit Natali a dozen times thrice for each mistake. "Oh please don't. Ooh! Aah!" cried Natali but the manager wasn't sorry at least a bit.
She went out of the room hurt. She thought that she was silly and stupid. Her brain told her to leave this unfriendly place. "Yes I will," she thought. Next day early morning she packed her bag with a few clothes and wore the necklace which Aunt Rosetta gave her saying that it was her grandmother's.
That was the beginning of her adventures. She wandered far from the orphanage, over the hills, valleys and forests. Natali was very tired after the long journey so she decided to rest under a huge banyan tree. She didn't know that she was in the lair of giants. As soon as she sat under the tree Natali fell asleep.
After a few hours, a loud booming voice woke Natali. When she opened her eyes she saw the most ferocious beast she has heard or seen. This giant didn't try to take Natali as his prey but tried to snatch the necklace that she was wearing. Natali was fond of the necklace so she tried to hold it as tightly as possible. Just as she held the pendent a bright light glowed.
She looked around to see where the giant was and saw that she was no longer under the banyan tree and also that there was no giant. She realised that her necklace had carried her to another place. As she started walking again, she saw a flower garden. Natali got distracted by the look of a rainbow coloured cave which stood at the end of the flower garden. She went towards it and peeped inside.
She didn't see anything except a bottle on a table. Natali went inside and read the label glued to the bottle. It said "If yawanna see fairies e elves yadrinka single sip." She didn’t understand what it meant at first but after reading it a few times she understood that it meant "If you want to see fairies and elves, you drink a single sip." She thought for a moment and drank a sip.
After a few minutes, she saw little toadstool houses. Natali also saw an elf swinging his bag to and fro and singing a merry tune. The elf saw Natali and was terrified, so he begged Natali not to hurt him. Natali was astonished and told the elf not to worry. Then the small creature calmed down. Natali told the elf her story from her parent's death to meeting the elf. The elf was more interested about the necklace. "A necklace from your grandma," repeated the elf. "Yeah" Natali said. "What is her name? I mean your grandma's name," asked the elf. "Ur..... Ur.... Ur... r... I think it is Aura... Yeah it is Aurori," Natali said.
"Aurori, she is the person who saved us from the huge monster Boca and you are her granddaughter." shouted the elf in surprise. "So you can save us from Boca's brother Boora," cried the elf happily. "Me, I don’t know how and what to do." told Natali. "I will tell our king and so that they will tell you what to do and you can help us defeat the giants using your magic necklace." said the elf. "MAGIC NECKLACE! Well I am ready. Let’s go right now to the king." Natali said. "Ok" said the elf. They hurried to the palace. Natali was surprised to see an elfin king and a fairy queen in the castle.
Natali did a bow gracefully as the elf told the king and queen about Natali. "Welcome! I feel sorry that you had to leave the place where you were. My dear, it is a great pleasure to know that you have agreed of helping us." said the king to Natali. "Yes, I am happy to help you. By the way can you tell me how I can help you to defeat Boora?" asked Natali courageously.
"Natali, Boora wears a chain containing three beads. If you touch those three beads using your necklace then he won't have any power and will fade away. He comes to our kingdom and eats the poor fairies and elves there," said the queen in her soft, silvery voice.
"Shall we start work right now? Can we call all the fairies and elves here right now so that we can tell them our plans about defeating Boora?" asked Natali. "Alright," said the king and he told his servant to give the message to all the elves and fairies in the kingdom. Time by time small groups of fairies and elves arrived to the palace. Natali was surprised to see such a lot of elves and fairies. After all of them came in the king and the queen introduced Natali to the fairies and elves and told them that she has agreed to help them defeat Boora. "Yeah, now we can save ourselves from that monster," said the fairies and elves with joy written all over their faces.
"Now it is your turn to talk my dear," said the queen to Natali. "Well it is a great pleasure to help all of you," began Natali, "Does any of you have any ideas?" "Yes, I have an idea," said a small elfin boy. "What is it?" Natali questioned him. He asked Natali whether they could divide the citizens of fairelves land into three groups, so that one group could distract the giant, the other group could tickle the giant to make him laugh while the next group including your majesties could help Natali to touch Boora's chain with her necklace. "Wow! You are the best plan maker I've ever seen. Of course we will do as you said," said Natali appreciating the elf. "There is one more thing that I need to ask all of you," Natali said. "I know, I know what you want to know," cried an excited elf. "You want to know the way to lair of giants isn't it. I will give the map to you after a minute." he said and told a ring of magical words and a suddenly a map came floating towards the elf as everybody started staring at it with amazement. "Here it is," he said while handing it over to Natali. Then Natali divided the elves and fairies into three groups." Let's start going there now. There is no time to waste," ordered the king. So all the citizens of fairelves land including Natali, made a huge army. The huge army marched towards the lair of giants following the map.
A loud snoring noise was heard just as they stepped to the lair. They slowly crept in and saw Boora the giant sleeping. Then Natali tried stepping on the giant and touching his three beads. But all of a sudden the giant woke up and grabbed Natali by her neck and was about to throw her when group number two tickled the giant which made Boora laugh. Natali was very glad that her life was saved. Then group number one began running here and there to distract the giant while Boora was muttering something about pesky creatures to himself. At the same time group three was busy clinging to the giant and trying to get closer towards the giant's neck. Natali was at the top because she was the owner of the necklace. After a while she became very close to the giant's neck. She only had time to touch all three beads with her necklace and after that Boora looked back and saw Natali. Natali was very scared that the giant will kill her but she made up her mind that all that she has done was to save fairelves land. After a few seconds she fell on the ground with a thud. After long hours Natali opened her eyes and what a surprise she had. She was the same size of the fairies and had a crown on her head and she was in fairelves land. She asked the queen what had happened and the queen replied saying that the giant was killed by her and that now she was the princess of fairelves land. Natali understood what had happened and was very happy that they had a grand party. Princess Natali, the king, the queen and all the citizens lived happily ever after with no bother from anybody especially from giants.