"As You Wish" by Tyler W. Kurt
An elderly woman finds a trunk of tattered stuffed animals and makes a promise to fix them all. (Children's Story)
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"As You Wish:" by Tyler W. Kurt (Children’s Story)
Sad Bear and his friends had been living in the pitch black for years. Absolute blackness. They had been put in the trunk shortly after their child, George, had gotten a puppy. There’s no sense of time in the blackness so they didn’t know how long they’d been in there -- months, maybe years.
And then, one day, they heard footsteps in the darkness. Clack, clack, clack, clack. The sound grew louder as it approached. Clack, clack, clack, clack. Would it mean a person would finally set them free? Would this be the person to let them out?
The room shifted violently. Fluffy, a stuffed white rabbit with just one eye, landed on top of Sad Bear, a teddy bear. Mr. Giraffe, a stuffed giraffe, fell onto Dolly, a hard-plastic doll with a yellowed dress and loose threads. Dolly also had, down the side of her face, a long red crayon mark in the shape of an A which made her self-conscious. As the trunk jostled the stuffed animals rolled around on each other until they finally landed with a thud.
The top of the trunk opened. After years of living in the dark the bright light temporarily blinded the animals as they looked up. Their eyes slowly adjusted and they saw, towering over them, an eccentrically-dressed elderly woman.
The woman had white hair that looked as if it hadn’t been combed in years and a face thick with wrinkles from smiling. She was 75 years old if she was a day, but her clothes were that of a teenager in a time long past. In fact, her blouse and poodle skirt made it look like she was about to go to a 1950’s dance. Her shoes, however, were Converse; one red and one white. And when she spoke, she used the words of an elderly woman but said the words in a light, fairy-like voice.
“Why, hello dears,” said the woman. “What do we have here?”
The woman pulled Dolly out of the trunk and examined her. ”Now aren’t you in sad shape. Old dress, torn threads …” the woman quickly licked her thumb and started rubbing the red crayon mark off Dolly’s face “… it looks like somebody was learning their alphabet on you. Well, this will never do.”
The woman looked down at the other stuffed animals in the trunk. ”A sad lot indeed.” She gently set Dolly down outside the trunk and picked up the stuffed Beagle that was jammed between two other animals. As she lifted the Beagle it exposed its missing leg with stuffing hanging out.
“Be careful with my stuffing!” shouted the Beagle.
“I’m being careful,” the woman replied.
“You can hear me?!” the Beagle asked, shocked.
The woman held the Beagle up to look him straight in the eye, because she felt it was more respectful to look someone directly in the eye when you spoke to them. ”Well of course I can. Is your leg in the trunk? Should I get it for you?”
“It’s not in the trunk, the puppy ripped it off!”
“Well,” the woman said, “if I ever meet that puppy I will have to explain to him the proper way to play with children’s toys.”
The woman gently set the stuffed Beagle on the ground outside the trunk next to Dolly. ”At the very least, I can sew that hole of yours closed so you don’t lose any more stuffing. You will be a three-legged dog, but that’s better than being a dog that’s losing its stuffing.”
“Excuse me, ma’am,” said Sad Bear from the trunk looking up. Sad Bear, you see, was named Sad Bear because he had a frown sewn on his face for a mouth when he was born. This caused him to be sad even when happy things were happening all around him. ”Excuse me ma’am,” said Sad Bear. “Can you really hear us?”
The woman picked up Sad Bear to look him in the eyes, just as she had done with the stuffed Beagle. “I suppose I can. Hold on, let me get all of you out of the trunk so we can be properly introduced.”
The woman gently set Sad Bear down then reached into the trunk and pulled out all the stuffed animals: Mr. Giraffe, Edwina the elephant, as well as Fluffy the white rabbit, Mr. Panda, and a rainbow unicorn that all the other animals made fun of because she stood out and had no name at all. She grabbed them all, and, one by one, lined them all up in a circle, so they could have a proper conversation.
When they were all sitting in their places, Fluffy the stuffed white rabbit, looked up at the woman and spoke first, “Excuse me Miss, but how is it you can hear us?” he said in a rabbit’s squeaky voice.
“Well,” the woman said, sitting down cross-legged in front of them, a rather impressive feat, considering her age, “You all can hear each other, can’t you?”
“Yes,” said Fluffy, “but we’re stuffed animals and you’re a real person. And real people can’t hear stuffed animals, except sometimes when they are very young.”
“I guess I never grew up,” the woman replied. Then she glanced around at the other stuffed animals in the circle to examine them. ”Well, you all are a motley group in dire need of repairs, if you don’t mind me saying.”
“We have been in the trunk a very long time,” said Sad Bear. ”And before we got put away by George, that was our child, the puppy would play with us very rough.” The three-legged Beagle held up his stump where his leg used to be to prove his point. The woman looked over at the Beagle.
“Indeed,” replied the woman looking where his leg used to be. ”But, like I said, I will fix you. I will fix all of you, and you’ll be in ship-shape and ready to go to a new home in no time. So, let’s make a list of all the things that need to be fixed. First, of course, my Beagle friend, I will sew your leg hole shut so you can stop losing stuffing. Or, if you would prefer, I can make you a new leg that matches.”
“You can do that?” asked the Beagle in wonder.
“Why, of course I can,” said the woman, who took out a small notepad and a pencil to write notes as she spoke. ”One new Beagle leg.”
“Excuse me ma’am,” Dolly said, seeing her chance. “My dress is very dirty, you see, and it has yellowed with age when it should be white…and the threads are all coming out -- “