Once upon a time, there was a beautiful, gorgeous land, still in the age of castles and princesses. There, the days went by like in any other: The sun rising and setting, and meanwhile, many things happened, many adventurous things. But none was so exceptional as that one day, on which the sun was rising into a rather misty morning. It seemed quite plain as any other, but for one thing. A bird sat on the edge of a cliff, watching over the valley. On the other side, lay a castle, quite hidden in the damp air of mist. But a light shone over it, and the bird too might have noticed, that something was about to happen.
In an old farm house, far away from the misty land, lived a little boy and girl. As brother and sister, they of course had times to argue, but also to play. They lived there together with their aunt and uncle, for their parents had died when they were still far younger. Every day passed as another. Until that one fateful day when the old bell on the door rang. The boy hurried to open it, but there was a sight which he had never seen before. In front of him, on the doorstep under the pouring rain, stood a little, pointy-hatted dwarf.
“Twenty fairies hidden in the rocks of the sea, their one hundred words’ wisdom not known by me, shall sixty days later come unto thee, small kind children Alec and Ellie.” the little dwarf said, his long beard dripping. He was only a little shorter than the children.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Ellie would have asked that, but Alec said it first.
“In riddles I speak truth every word you hear, a day is coming that is a day of fear, someday my words will become clear, but for now come quick and for now come near.”
“What’s your name?” Alec asked.
“Ogbar to those who live in the ground, but my true dwarf name has not been found, no one has heard my true name sound, and unless someone finds it – to my fate I am bound.”
“What fate?” Alec looked carefully at the dwarf as he said this, examining the dwarf’s handsome but dirty clothes.
“The fate to speak every sentence in rhyme, this fate does not happen all the time, only to those who have touched the dark slime, which lies inside the caverns of rocky grime.” The dwarf stopped to take a breath while the children looked at him, fascinated. “With a job for you I come today, that you fulfill it I do pray, a darkened time is this month of May, for there are rain clouds of deep dark gray.”
“So we’re going to help you find your dwarf name, and in sixty days some fairies are going to tell us something?” Ogbar nodded instead of telling Ellie a poem to answer her question.
Alec was very curious, but Ellie led him back into the house before he could ask any more questions, and soon they were bundled in jackets and boots. They put some food in a basket, and left with the dwarf. It was still raining.
“Rewarded are those who are brave and kind, beautiful is the treasure we will find, young and clever is your fast mind, and with pretty blue cloth your basket is lined.” Ogbar’s clothes were mostly blue as well.
In about an hour, in which the children listened to Ogbar’s poems, they came to a big rock in the middle of their road. They lifted it to reveal an underground tunnel with jewels set in the walls. “Sparkling are the jewels of dwarf families, in the world underground water does not freeze, we must go into the tunnel now, please.”
Ogbar led them through the dark tunnel, warning them that once they came to the rocky parts they must not touch the slime on the walls. He explained that the slime caused one to forget their name and always have to speak in words that rhymed. Part of Ogbar’s quest was to rid all tunnels of such slime.
The rocky tunnel went on and on, then changed to green leaves and vines. After a few days of traveling in this tunnel, they saw a hole in the tunnel roof and climbed out of it. A strange mist surrounded them; the children realized that they were inside a small hut inside the misty castle. Lords, ladies, knights, peasants, and many, many children walked very slowly down what appeared to be streets. They were all bumping into each other because they could not see where they were going, due to the thickness of the mist.
“We have traveled for a week, with the king we must speak.”
“Okay. How do we find the king?” Ellie smiled at the thought of finding something.
“Climb to the roof of this small hut, above the mist the king will strut.” The children did this, and soon enough saw a royal-looking man walking on the roof of a tall building. Ogbar crawled up next to them. “Grab the log that lies near to your feet, the one cut in half like a piece of meat, use it like a bridge from roof to roof above this street, until you reach the king whom you must meet.” he said.
The king suddenly looked at them. The children smiled and started laying the plank of wood down to make a bridge to the next roof. Using this ‘bridge’ system, they could safely walk from roof to roof. Soon enough, they were standing on the same roof as the king.
Clothed in a red velvet robe trimmed with gold, shiny leather shoes, and a magnificently jeweled crown, the king knelt in front of them. “I haven’t seen a single child for years.” he murmured. “Can I help you?”
“Why haven’t you seen any kids?” Alec asked straightaway.
“Because years ago, I had some workers build a house made of jewels. In order to buy the jewels, I had to have more money, so I raised the taxes. The tax raise made my people so poor that they could barely feed their children.” Ellie noticed the deep sadness in the king’s face.
“Then a traveling witch, named Fella something, came along, with a group of twenty fairies, and she cursed my jeweled house to break into pieces, so that my people would get the jewels. The witch meant for the people to sell the jewels so that they could pay for food. My people quarreled while they divided up the jewels, and there was a lot of fighting, and then the witch cast another spell.” The king paused in his speech, then continued.
“This spell put a great mist inside and around this castle, so that no one could see each other. And because no one could see any other people, they couldn’t figure out who to fight, so they didn’t fight at all. Later, the witch explained that she had done this because the people were being greedy about the jewels. I told the witch that I was sorry for selfishly raising the taxes and causing so much trouble, and she felt a little sorry for me. She couldn’t undo the spells, but she gave me her twenty fairies and left. The fairies flew away to the sea.” The king stopped, thoughtful.
“A witch cast a spell on the dwarves – or so I am told, because of their greed for jewels and gold.” Ogbar told them that the witch had cursed them to have a dark slime on the rocky walls of the dwarves’ underground home. If anyone, dwarf or human, touched the slime, they would forget their name, speak in rhyming poetry, and leave their family. ‘Ogbar’ was a name he had come up with, just so that he could have a name.
“So there’s this witch who travels the world, punishing people who are too greedy?” Ellie asked.
“Our parents have told us that if we were greedy, someone named Fellinda would do something bad to us.” Alec said. “I think this witch must be her.”
“To you we have come to help break these curses, before the spells get worses.” Ogbar said to the king, with his usual stiff, sad voice.
“I don’t think ‘worses’ is a word.” Ellie said.
“I don’t have to speak in words that exist, as long as the rhyming is not missed.”
“What should we do about all these mists and slimes and speaking in rhymes?” Alec asked. It was hard to speak without rhyming, once you had been around Ogbar for a while.
In a few days, once they were all well fed and well rested, the king, whose name was Edward, Alec, Ellie, and Ogbar set off to find the fairies. Hoping that the fairies could explain how to find Fellinda, they traveled quickly on horseback. But the sea was still very far away.
A month and a half later, they came to the sea. It was a lovely, beautiful sight, with the blue and green waves dancing and smashing upon the sparkling, sandy shore. Rocky caves, though with no dark, cursed slimes, were scattered here and there around the beach.
“Ogbar, what is it that you said about the fairies? Where will we find them?” Ellie asked again, looking around. She didn’t see any fairies around.
“I’ve been told to look under rock and stone, until I find a cold white bone, which into the sea I must toss, and the fairies will rise out of a patch of moss.” For days, they searched under the rocks, some of which were heavy and hard to lift.
Exhausted, and on the sixtieth day after the children had left home with Ogbar, the bone was found. It was a tiny bone, and had been hidden beneath a very small rock. Triumphant, they all threw it into the sea. Fairies flew happily around them in seconds, singing and dancing in the air. The king asked if they could tell them how to locate Fellinda or break the slime and mist curses. The fairies gathered in a circle around them, singing a song.
“Where Fellinda goes, we cannot see, but she must always remain what she was born to be. Greed is a curse, like the spells she casts, but more than mist or slime, greed is a crime. To break the curses, say that you’re sorry to those you have hurt, and then broken will be the curse of dark slime under the dirt. To break the curse of the mists of the castle with jewels, let your people know that you will follow the rules. Tax no more, and greed no more, and forever we will live on this sea’s shore."
Quickly, they thanked the fairies, and then set off to go back home. On their journey back, it felt like the ground was helping them home. Ogbar left them, and went back to the dwarves, while the king made a promise to his people that he would never be so greedy again.
The mists cleared up instantly. In a few weeks, Ogbar came back to them, bringing Alec and Ellie’s parents with him. “My name...” Ogbar said – “...is Dwarrek, which means ‘peaceful guard.” Tears of happiness were shed as the king made the children princes and princesses, and their parents as kings and queens. The king’s home was rebuilt, this time out of stone, and the people’s taxes made smaller.
And for many years, the new royal family ruled peacefully and happily over the kingdom. Dwarrek was made into a knight of the dwarves, and came to visit every year.
Let us all hope that no one will ever be terribly greedy again. Who knows what will happen if Fellinda is called to put another curse on them, and everyone has forgotten the words of the fairies?