This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
And while this book cannot answer this question definitively for any other fairy tales you may have read, I can tell you with certainty that, while not everything in here is true, neither is everything a lie, and that several things written here happened in a manner similar to what has been said below.
The time in which our story takes place is when motor carriages (as they were still then known) were still a fairly recent invention and dressing fine was an art. It takes place in a distant country, the name of which you will never have heard, and the likes of which do not remain today.
The first of the boys that we must meet is Sebastian. He was the rather queer lad of the story, as all the children quite agreed; he was the only one of them not to have been born in their hometown, for he had moved there only a few months before.
Luckily, he had moved next door to a quite kind family with two other lads, themselves no older than Sebastian was, and they soon struck up a friendship. Every day they were at the others' house, running through the great, vast halls, for houses in those days were quite large and remarkable. Those boys’ names were Arthur and Luke, and they were as unlike each other in looks as in temperament.
Luke usually preferred to be alone, or spending time at his mother’s side, aside from the time he spent with Sebastian. Arthur was quite outgoing, and spent his days wandering as far as he was allowed within their town, and made friends with as many neighbor children as possible.
Now, as we have met three of the most important of the characters in our story, the story itself must be told.
On the day in which this grand tale began, the boys had been spending time in one of the drawing rooms at Sebastian’s house, using bits of paper that they had taken from a desk that they had found and a few bits of leftover coal from the fireplace to draw pictures of things that children in those days drew.
They each picked up the picture that they were the most proud of and marched happily from the drawing room into the hall, and from there climbed the staircase into the living chamber of the house. They entered the second door on the left, in which Sebastian’s mother lay in bed, still in her dressing gown and cap, covered in her quilt and looking quite ill.
“Mother,” Sebastian said, holding up his bit of paper out for her to see without much effort. “We drew pictures for you, to make you feel better.”
She took the pictures from each of the boys’ hands, and set them on her bedside table. “Thank you all, very, very much. With these here, I feel quite certain that I’ll be better in no time.” She smiled a very genuine smile, and then shooed the boys from her chambers.
“Why is she still in bed?” Arthur asked.
“Father says that she is rather ill with a funny queer disease,” Sebastian said. “But he says that mother is strong, and with a little luck, she’ll be better very soon.” He smiled brightly, and went on, “And he says that when mother is well again, we’ll all take a holiday to the sea, and we’ll be able to travel to the mountains and a great many other things.”
The boys then began wandering the halls of the house, for despite their numerous explorations, as they called them, they had yet to find anything more interesting than a few coins and a bird in one of the upstairs chimneys.
“How odd,” Sebastian said as he tried at the handle of an ornate and beautiful door, making the others look round at him. “This door, its fast shut, and I can’t get it open. Give a hand and we’ll see if we can’t budge it.”
Now, as all good children know, when you run across a locked door, it is usually locked for a reason. But these boys, while not naughty, were quite adventurous and hoping to find something spectacular, such as a burglar or a chest of pirate treasure.
After several moments of the children shaking the door, and jiggling the handle, and banging quite loudly and screaming, “Hello? I say, hello, is anyone in there?” which of course was a silly thing to do, the boys found that the door was swinging open with a loud squeak.
The boys now found themselves in a large, rather empty room with only a wardrobe, a desk and a window inside. The window itself gave off very little light, for it had large, heavy curtains hanging all the way down it from the ceiling, and so it was quite dark in the room. The boys immediately rushed forward and flung open the doors of the wardrobe, hoping to find a person or a treasure chest inside, but it too was empty aside from an overcoat that was far too large for any of them.
They next went to the desk and rummaged in its drawers, finding a number of old feather quills and pots of ink. The boys were greatly amused by these things, for they had never had a pen of their own, and enjoyed being able to write with one, quite like an adult. Before long their scribbles on the paper had become boring and illegible, and they dropped the quills and the ink, after closing the jars of course, back into the drawers.
Now they walked over to the great heavy curtains and tried pulling them apart. But instead of pulling off to the side, they fell off of their hooks and onto the boys. When at last the boys had disentangled themselves from the heavy and remarkably soft cloth, they looked out the window. They were much higher up than they had thought, and were quite astounded to find that they weren’t just a few stories in the air, but much higher, finding themselves well above all of the houses around them, and quite as high as the tall trees to the far east of their houses.
They looked at each other in some distress and rushed, suddenly frightened, towards the door. But where the door should have been was but a blank expanse of wall. “Where ever did the door go?” they all cried at once.
Of a sudden the room gave ajolt, as a motor carriage jolts when you are forced to use the brakes quite suddenly, which of course is a silly thing to do. The boys all fell back, sprawling and kicking the air as they did so, and tried to right themselves.
Once they were again on their feet and feeling steady they looked back towards the window, then at the area where the door should have been. Still there was no door, and so they walked back to the window. Looking outside, they saw that they were no longer miles above the ground, but only a small number of yards.
Still quite nervous, the boys tried the window and found that, with no small bit of coaxing, they were able to open it, and It swung open to the left, allowing fresh air to blow onto their faces. They jumped as the cold air hit them: it was rather surprising, being summer at the time. One by one, they climbed out the window as best they could and dropped the rest of the way, which, as I’m sure you know, is a rather foolish thing to do. Not one of the boys was hurt however, which was quite a lucky thing, as it was still a very large drop.
And now the boys stood up, brushed dirt from their clean clothes (as any respectable young gentlemen would do), and looked about.
They were in an unfamiliar place, quite different from their home, and the building from which they had exited, which as you’ll remember had been on the third floor of Sebastian’s house, was a small shack upon a rather large green lawn, at the far end of which was a rather large mansion, far larger even than the rather large houses that the boys were used to. The window of the shack, which as you’ll remember, had been several yards above the ground, was now just feet, or possibly inches from the grass.
The boys, who had been still from shock and fear, now looked at each other. Then, Sebastian, who was no small amount braver than the other two, took a small step forward, as though nervous that someone would step from behind a tree and attack him. When this did not happen, however, all three boys seemed to gain heart and lose their nervousness.
But now, however, even as the boys began to walk, looking in some delight and curiosity at the shack, there came a rather loud ruckus from the direction of the mansion. However, the boys were quite enamored with the wooden building and didn’t hear anything; not even as a large party of both grown men and grown dogs ran towards them, brandishing large spears and rather sharp teeth.
And now the boys, noticing the men, grew quite frightened and huddled in close together, but were dragged apart roughly by the collars. “Who are you to trespass in these lands?” roared one of them, holding Sebastian high in the air.
“We’re-we’re-we’re boys, sir,” said Arthur, the only one still able to speak for fear, and being quite mindful to remember his manners, as all children should do whilst speaking to an adult.
“I can see that, foolish lad,” said another. “We did not ask you what you were, but whom?”
“My name is Arthur, sir,” said the boy, and gestured to his two companions, “and these are my brother, Luke, and our friend, Sebastian.”
“Well, sirs Arthur, Luke and Sebastian, what do you want on our private lands? And how do you come to be here, past our guards?”
“Please, sir,” said Luke, who had overcome his shyness and his fear, momentarily. “We do not know, sir. We were merely exploring Sebastian’s home, and soon found ourselves here.”
“Ah, so you speak of witchcraft?” asked a third man. “You admit to your wicked ways?”
“No sir!” exclaimed the three lads all at once. “We aren’t wicked, we’re just boys!”
“You will come with us,” said the first man. “Our lord will question you and decide your fate. He will know whether you are wicked or not.”
The men put the boys over their shoulders and marched back up to the large house. They opened the rather large doors, and walked for what seemed several minutes, or perhaps hours (one never really could be sure in that house) through long, winding corridors, before halting at a wooden door.
Knocking on the door, the man holding Luke said, “My lord, we have caught-“
“Bring them in.” The voice was warm, but also firm and commanding. The men opened the door and set the boys down in chairs. “Leave us,” said an old man sitting behind a beautiful oak desk.
“But my lord!” exclaimed one. “These boys are-“
“I know what they are. Now, please leave us. If I require any help, I shall call for your assistance, Kendrick.”
“Of course, my lord.” The men all bowed politely to the man behind the desk, stepped out and shut the door.
“My boys, what were you doing on my lawn?” asked the old man, looking quite stern, but still far less intimidating to the boys than the men who had carried them to the study, and they recounted the whole thrilling story, just as I have recounted it to you. And now the old man smiled warmly, and the boys were put at their ease, for his smile was quite kind and loving.
“Boys, you are in no great trouble from me,” he said. “But I think that your most worrisome problem, or if I were you it would be mine, is how to get back to your home.” The boys looked rather confused for a moment, and the man continued, “As I understand it, some dark magick has drawn you to this world from your own, and has dropped you into mine. It seems that my shed and the room in your home, Sebastian, share some sort of, let us call it a Dimensional Link, which can carry you from one world to another.
“But, if my limited knowledge of such matters is correct, then I do believe that you will not be able to get home through my shed. Have you ever used a funnel? Perhaps whilst helping your mother in the kitchen? Yes, well, it has one end quite smaller than the other. If you pour water into the larger end, it flows out slower of the smaller end. But have you ever tried pouring water into the smaller end? It doesn’t work so well, and it is quite hard to get the water into the hole itself.
“It seems that this Dimensional Link is like a funnel. You came from your world, which seems to me to be like the wide end of the funnel. This side of the link is rather like the narrow end. You can get out of it here, but it is rather difficult to get back into.” Now he stopped, pulled his spectacles off of his nose and wiped them on his sleeve. “But it seems to me that, like a road in town, it wouldn’t be possible to get to one side without another, just as you can get into a city square by the north or the south.”
The boys were rather taken aback by the way the man spoke to them, rather like they themselves were adults. And while they understood very little, Sebastian had understood one thing, and said, “So, sir, you think that we will be able to get home?”
“Of course, lad,” the man said. “I have met many people from your world, which is how I came to understand these few things that I have said, and it seems that, as I have never seen them again, they may have gotten home. Of course, this may not be true, either.”
“But sir, if we are to get home,” Arthur piped up, “where are we to go? We do not know where another of these Dimensional Links might be, and even if we did, we know very little about your world! We haven’t any idea where to look!”
“I may be able to help you with that, dear boy,” said the man. He clapped his hands, and at once one of the men who had brought them burst through the door.
“Yes, my lord?” he said, rather breathless from excitement. “Have you no need for these children? Shall I dispose of them?”
“Quite the opposite, Bartholomew!” exclaimed the old man. “I would much rather you fetch me Melody. She will be of assistance for me.” The man bowed himself out, quite disappointed, and walked away.
“Who is Melody, sir?” asked Luke.
“She is my granddaughter,” said the old man. “She has been, several times, with the men and women from your world trying to find a way back. If there is a possible way back, she’ll be able to help you.”
“Grandfather!” called a voice from the hall, and a young girl, no older than the boys were themselves, rushed into the room, past the chairs where the boys were sitting, and flew into the old man’s arms. “Grandfather, you wanted me?”
“Yes, Melody. You see these boys?” he said, motioning toward the boys in the chairs. The girl looked over at them, dropping off of the old man and standing upon the wooden floor. At once the boys turned bright red as color rushed to their face.
Young boys in those days were, as they sometimes still are today, quite enamored by children of the opposite gender than themselves, and did not think of such things as cooties, which most of you who read this will possibly know of. This girl, however, could turn the head of even the boys in your time. She was quite as tall as the boys were, with blue eyes that sparkled with joy, long, shimmering golden-blonde hair, and a determined, yet quite happy and sweet face.
“Hello,” she said, happily walking over to them and shaking each of the boys’ hands in turn. The boys however were quite unable to speak at the sight of the pretty young girl.
“Melody, these boys are from that other world, much like those other young people that we have met.”
“Really?” she asked, looking excitedly at each of the boys. “When did they get here, grand-father? When do they need to go home? Can they stay long? I want them to tell me about their world!”
“Melody, please, do not pester these children with your questions. They are our guests, and deserve our hospitality.” His voice was firm again, and Melody fell quiet, looking disappointed. “Show them to their rooms. They will stay here for the night, and tomorrow you will take them into town. You said that you’d found another Dimensional Link there, hadn’t you? Good, you’ll take them there.”
Melody nodded and, motioning to the boys to follow her, walked from the room. Arthur and Luke immediately followed her, and, despite his wish to do the same, Sebastian stayed in the study long enough to say, “Thank you very much, sir.”
“It is my pleasure, dear boy.” The man smiled again.
When Sebastian got into the corridor, he found the others at the far end, and had to jog to catch up. When he had approached them, he heard Melody speaking in a hushed, but excited tone. “What is it like in your world?” she was saying, but didn’t give a chance to answer before asking more questions. “Are the people there kind? What kinds of animals do you have?”
She led them on, not letting them answer any questions as they walked. Soon they came upon a door on their right. “Here you go,” Melody said, opening it. Inside there were two beds and a rather large and imposing wardrobe. “This is your room, Arthur and Luke.” The two boys walked into the room, looked around, and shut the door with a hurried word of thanks.
Melody and Sebastian walked down a few more corridors, until they came upon another door. “This is your room, Sebastian,” Melody said. She opened the door and led Sebastian into a room, quite as large as the study, but instead of a desk, there was a bed and a wardrobe.
Sebastian stepped over to the window, and found a quite marvelous view of the lawn. He turned back and found Melody still standing there, looking quite nervous and shy. “Can I ask you a question?” she asked.
“I suppose,” said Sebastian, who was also quite nervous of being around a pretty girl.
“Do you have to leave so soon!” she burst out. Looking chagrined, she said, “What I mean is, can’t you stay for a time? It would be nice to have someone my age around for once. There are no other children around here, and I really want to learn more about your world.”
Of course, this is a rather inconvenient point to stop the story, but it is where it was stopped for the night when it was first told me. Of course, you are fully free to continue reading for as long as you like.
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