One day when she was a little girl, Amy was watching her mother and father as they sat in the den reading a newspaper. Their fingers were inky black because they always read the newspaper. Amy wondered what it was they so loved. She picked it up and turned the pages, but she couldn't find a single story she wanted to read.
"Why do you read this?" she asked her parents, but their noses were buried in their newspaper, so they didn't answer.
For years and years, Amy wondered.
When she grew up, she began to read newspapers just like her parents had, but she began to wish there were stories in the newspaper for little girls like she had been. Sometimes she said to friends, "I wish there were stories in newspapers for little kids," but they mostly laughed at her.
Finally, one of her friends said, "Sometimes a person has to make her own wish come true."
"Yes!" Amy thought, and she sat down at her desk, picked up a bright blue pen and began to write stories she thought the children she knew would love. Once she had written one story, she couldn't help herself. She wrote another, and another and another. She began to recall stories of her childhood, and soon her stories were filled with fantastical people, talking animals, mystical creatures and strange adventures.
There were Alice and the Cheshire cat; Peter's shadow; a yellow brick road; the emperor's new clothes; a sword in a stone; slippers that didn't fit and slippers that did; poisonous apples, pouty princesses and kissing frogs. There were beanstalks and colorful coats; magical coins and talking crows; golden crowns and wicked witches; houses built of cookies and candy; houses built of sticks and straw. There were talking pigs and robber barons; kind ogres and greedy kings; tricksters and fools.
Soon Amy began to search for stories that children in other cities and states and countries loved, too.
One day, as she was writing about seven princesses dancing in a meadow, she imagined she could see them.
This gave her a wonderful idea, so she ran to Meredith's house.
You see, Meredith draws.
"Do you think you could draw these princesses?" Amy asked.
Meredith poised her paintbrush over a big piece of paper, and that paintbrush began to dance. Suddenly, before their eyes, those dancing princesses were rising into the sapphire sky, and then they were floating in a sea of silvery stars.
"It's so beautiful," Amy said. "This reminds me of the paintings Jillian paints. Don't you wish we could all float in that pretty sky?"
"I do," Meredith said.
And just then they heard a knock on the door. When they opened it, they saw the painter Jillian and a big tall man named Dan. They were with Alan, Harriet and Joyce, and another girl named Gillian, but this one spelled her name with a "G."
"Hello!" Amy said. "It's so good to see all my old friends."
"Come on," Dan said, "if we all work together, we can float up to that sapphire sky."
He nodded at Jillian, and she lifted her paintbrush in the air, and she painted a floating basket.
"Climb in," Harriet said, and so they all did.
Meredith drew a pathway to the sky, and up, up, up they floated.
"We're in the dream I've drawn," Meredith said.
"The dream I imagined," Amy said.
"The dream I am painting," Jillian added.
"It's the dream everyone wants to dream," Alan, Gillian, Joyce, Harriet and Dan all said. "It's the dream we all create together."
For a while they all floated, and it was so peaceful that they thought they would live happily ever after.
But Jillian couldn't resist. Her paintbrush was tugging at her hand. She loved colors, and she began to draw a bright blue dragon with fiery breath, but then that dragon began to roar.
"Whoa!" Joyce cried. "We're in danger ... we have to get away!"
"Meredith, draw!" Amy cried.
So Meredith drew a long, winding pathway through the sky, and all eight of them raced down that path as fast as they could, fleeing the dragon.
"Wait!" Jillian said. "That dragon wasn't cruel ... he used to live by the sea, and he wanted to return." So she stopped and painted a pretty sea surrounded by palm trees and beautiful flowers.
Meredith was so inspired that she drew eight little boats. They each climbed into one of those boats, and off they sailed.
"This is miraculous," Alan said.
"Most people frown on miracles," Joyce said, "but we are a miracle team!"
They traveled on, crossing a universe full of moons and magic, wise fools and foolish wise men, shapeshifters and spell casters. There were Jack and Zeus; Loki and Maui; Puck and Puss in Boots; Reynard and Till; Anansi, Br'er Rabbit, Sinbad, Little Peter and Pedro Urdemales. They re-created Ivan the Fool and his Sailing Ship; the Monkey King and Ti Malice; the Pied Piper and Kokopelli; nixies and nymphs and elves.
Everywhere Amy imagined, they traveled. Meredith drew, and Jillian painted, and Amy kept imagining -- pixies, sprites, changelings and pookas; elves and brownies; demons and doppelgangers; djinnis and spirits of the forest, of the sky, of the sea; dwarves and trolls; selkies and ghosts; Molly Whuppie and Frau Holle; Rapunzel and the Little Match Girl; the Snow Queen and Snow White; Aladdin and Prince Charming; the Frog Prince and Romeo; Cinderella and Aphrodite.
"Most folks spend a lot of time wishing," Dan said, "but we are helping them understand that all you have to do is imagine."
"And wish," Harriet and Gillian with a G said.
"Sometimes a person has to make her own wish come true," Alan added.
"That's what we do," Joyce said.
"That's true," Amy agreed. "That's what we do whenever we say, 'Tell Me a Story.' We imagine. We wish. We create."
"And we draw!" Meredith said.
Because Meredith draws.
"Tell Me a Story 3: Women of Wonder," the third CD in the audiobook series, is now available. For more information, please visit www.mythsandtales.com.