THE WITCH WHO STOLE THE PINK
Gabrielle loved pink.
“Oh, hello Gabrielle,” the little pink-haired old lady would say. “Here’s a beautiful blue dress. Can I exchange it for that little pink button?”
With a quick snip from a pair of scissors, the little old lady had what she wanted.
One morning, Gabrielle woke up to find that her pink satchel had lost all of its colour!
“I have no idea,” said Gabrielle’s mother, “what has happened.”
On her way to school, the colourless satchel on her back, Gabrielle passed the little old pink-haired lady.
“Tee hee! Tee hee!”
When she looked back, she saw a fat Persian cat. And the cat was bright pink!
It was simply too much when her beautiful pink walls faded as well.
“WHAT HAPPENED HERE?” roared a voice.
Gabrielle turned to find a plump gentleman in a business suit seated on a chair which floated in the air. On his lap was a glass bowl containing a pink goldfish. Behind him, a hole in the wall was closing itself up.
“Who are you?” Gabrielle asked.
“I am the Chairman. I run things from my chair. Meet Roger, once just another fish in the pond!”
“Hello Roger!” Gabrielle said politely. “And why are you here?”
“You are having a colour problem?”
“Yes, someone is taking all of the pink away. I think it is the lady who lives just down the street with her pink, I mean, her black cat. It seems to have turned pink.”
“Most unusual,” said the Chairman. “You must help us put an end to this, Gabrielle!”
“Of course,” said Gabrielle. “But my mother will have to meet you first.”
“Naturally,” agreed the Chairman.
“You get about by means of the chair?” Gabrielle’s mother said when Gabrielle brought her new friend down to the kitchen.
“Not exactly,” said the Chairman.
“And you want Gabrielle to tie up a loose thread in the sweater of the world, is that it?”
“Yes. Someone appears to have gotten their hands on the pink thread of the world, and is pulling at it, removing it inch by inch. Once it is entirely gone, the whole sweater could unravel.”
“I shall have to write a note to your teacher informing her that you have been called away on urgent business,” said Gabrielle’s mother.
“Umm, one thing more,” added the Chairman, “if I might ask you for … .”
” A chair,” said the Chairman.
Gabrielle had to both think and feel where she wanted to go and that’s where she went in her chair.
As they floated down the street, they passed the little old pink-haired lady.
“Oh, what a pretty pink goldfish!” she said. “Do you think you might care to exchange it for a very precious jewel?”
“I have all the jewels I require,” the Chairman said. “What I have a real need of would be a nice fat, black, Persian cat.”
“No, no!” said the little old lady. She half-walked, half-ran away.
“Most interesting,” said the Chairman. “Shall we go and visit the cat?”
They directed their chairs down the street to where the lady lived. The cat was napping on the top front step. As the visitors approached, it opened one eye and spat.
“That’s no way to carry on, pussy,” said the Chairman as he placed the glass fish bowl before it.
“Roger!” Gabrielle exclaimed. “The cat will eat him!”
“No,” corrected the Chairman. “The fish has been thoroughly trained and will only be swallowed.”
As Roger leapt and splashed about, with a single bound from the cat it was all over!
“Good-bye, Roger,” Gabrielle said.
As she spoke, the cat began to turn a shocking electric pink, opened its mouth wide and Roger flew out. From his goldfish jaws, a pink thread trailed back to the cat’s mouth. Roger spun round and round inside his bowl of water. Soon a great pink ball grew about him and the cat returned to its natural blackness.
“That, Gabrielle, is the missing thread,” said the Chairman. “We must return it to its proper place.”
Moving at a good clip, they soon reached the coast and stopped on a high cliff that overlooked the sea. “You go down to the beach,” the Chairman said.
A little way along the shore, Gabrielle came upon the pink-haired old lady, with her black Persian cat crouched at her feet. Only, the lady’s hair was now white.
“How did you get here?” Gabrielle called out.
“Oh, I flew,” said the white-haired lady in a vague sort of way. “And yourself?”
“Oh, I flew,” answered Gabrielle, moving off in her chair.
She turned her gaze towards the sea just as a golden chariot
plummeted headlong into it. She couldn’t tell if it was a chariot or the sun that sat on the water.
“The chariot is pulled by the horses of the sun,” said the Chairman when Gabrielle reported back to him. “Their reins are made up of the colours of the sunset and of the sunrise. But, when one of the colours is missing, the Charioteer can no longer control the horses.
“It is the Charioteer who gives the world its beautiful sweater and, to keep warm in cool sunset evenings, he also wears one. With age, however, it became a little frayed around the edges, and the witch saw her chance and plucked a stray pink thread dangling down from the sky. This gave her power over all the pink everywhere.”
“What can we do?” asked Gabrielle.
At the edge of the sea, the Chairman drew one end of the pink yarn from about Roger and tied it around Gabrielle’s little pinky
finger. “Introduce yourself!” he said. “Explain why you have come and give him my best regards!”
As Roger swam toward the horizon, Gabrielle followed him on her chair, the sea becoming a pool of colours. The great chariot of the setting sun glowed, and the water bubbled silver.
The huge figure in the chariot, with snow-white hair and salt-caked beard, seemed very old. His head was slumped forward beneath his golden helmet.
“Watch out there! Night follows me! The horses of the sun will rise and scatter all the past before them! Watch out!” roared the Charioteer, coming out of his sleep. He stared fiercely at Gabrielle. “Who are you? You’re not the past. You’re the future. What is that tied to your finger?”
When he heard her story, the old Charioteer laughed uproariously. “That should teach you a good lesson!” he said although he didn’t say what it might be. “Now, I need someone to knot up these frayed ends before my whole sweater unravels. I
can’t control these horses and see to this at the same time.”
Gabrielle set about making little knots up and down the
Charioteer’s colourful sweater.
“And what do you mean to do with that pink thread?” he asked pointing at her finger.
“The Chairman said to tie it to the reins. That will break the spell,” Gabrielle replied.
“He did, did he? Well, he should take care of witches and suchlike,” snorted the Charioteer. “Give it here. I’ll show you how it works!”
Gripping the pink thread tightly among his fistful of other colours, the Charioteer gave a loud “YO!” The reins became taut, pulsed and throbbed as Roger braided his pink among them, and the golden chariot heaved forward out of the sea behind stupendous horses.
“Now the day breaks,” murmured the Charioteer as they skimmed along just above the tops of the waves.
“By the way, the Chairman told me to say, ‘Hello!'”
“Did he!” gruffly answered the Charioteer.
“Good-bye,” said Gabrielle and glided slowly away in her chair.
“YO!” called out the Charioteer as the horses of the sun galloped toward the sleeping world ahead of them.
With day rapidly ending, Gabrielle and the Chairman had to make the journey back at a much faster rate than they had come. They flew faster and faster until Gabrielle heard the Chairman say they were at “WALL SPEED” and suddenly they were inside her house, seated at the kitchen table.
Gabrielle’s mother looked up from what she was doing. “So there you are!” she said. “Just in time for bed.”