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Pandora Doesn't Like to Read

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PANDORA DOESN’T LIKE TO READ

PATRICIA MORAIS

© Patricia Morais

Revision: Laura Urbina

Cover: Joe Chung

Shakespir Edition

Blog: [email protected]

Facebook: facebook.com/patricia.morais.pt

Twitter e Instagram: @TrishM27

Goodreads: Patricia Morais

For Raquel, whose job as a librarian inspired me to write this tale.

1

“Pandora, go get your things.”

“I’m going, mum!”

“Pandora, hurry up, we’re going to be late.”

“I’m coming, dad!”

Pandora was going to spend two whole weeks at her grandparents’ house and she couldn’t be more thrilled. She loved granny and grandad; she also loved their big house and enormous garden. She even had friends there, Mary and Michael, two siblings that lived in her grandparents’ town with whom Pandora shared brave adventures.

“Pandora, are you ready?” Her parents asked.

“All set!” She replied enthusiastically.

The journey to her grandparents’ was long and dreary, the only thing about visiting them that Pandora hated. Can you believe she was forced to still for two whole hours? She always had hated when she was locked in a place where she couldn’t run.

“Read a book,” her mother would say, whenever she was forced to sit still in the waiting room of her favourite paediatrician, who offered her lollies if she behaved.

“I don’t like reading,” Pandora always replied with a whine.

Disliking to read was the only thing Pandora didn’t share with her grandparents, who owned the most gigantic library she had ever seen. There where rows and rows of old books, new books, middle-aged books, and the room was bright with a scent of mildew that reminded Pandora of school – but not the good school when she ran and played with her mates. No, no, no, the bad one, where she had to learn and sit still. Pandora didn’t understand how someone who liked adventures so much could spend so much time reading. “What a waste of time,” she would think. “So much time spent reading when they could be exploring outside.”

“We’re here,” Pandora heard her dad saying almost when she was drifting to sleep.

A new hit of energy jolted her like an electric shock. She unfasted her seat belt quickly and ran towards the house.

“Granny. Grandad,” she yelled when she saw them running in her direction. They hugged and exchanged kisses and laughs for a while.

“Let’s go, dear, go put your things in your room and say goodbye to your parents,” they said, and Pandora did what she was told, ready to start two weeks of pure fun.

But when her parents had already left and Pandora came downstairs where granny and grandad were preparing a snack, they both wore grim looks on their faces.

“Pandora, we have bad news.”

“What is it, grandad?”

“Well,” said granny, “Mary and Michael are not here this time. They went on holidays with their parents.”

“Oh!” Without her friends Pandora had no one to play with and explore the big garden. The only thing she had left was the telly with her favourite cartoons.

“And there is one more thing,” granny continued, “the telly is broken. I’m afraid you won’t be able to watch cartoons for a while until we are able to fix it.”

“But what I’m supposed to do then? There is nothing!”

“Well, you could read a book from the library,” grandad suggested. “There are so many upstairs.”

“No, no, no. I don’t like to read!”

“Well, dear, then you have to come up with something.”

2

But there was nothing else to do. Pandora and her friends had already explored the entire house last year, they knew every corner. They knew the best places to hide when playing hide-and-seek, where to step if they wanted to climb the rooftop, even that secret room where they weren’t supposed to go because that’s where grandad stored his tools.

In the following days, Pandora played with Bolt, granny and grandad’s dog. Bolt was a great friend to Pandora and an even better explorer. Together they explored the yard that Pandora didn’t know so well. It was so big you couldn’t unravel every secret in just one day. They found their way out of the maze and even discovered a shortcut that made it faster to reach the house.

But on the fifth day, unfortunately, Pandora woke up to heavy rain. It was pouring outside.

“Oh! No,” she gasped.

Pandora went downstairs to find out that grandad was gone for the day and granny was too busy to play with her. She was preparing a big dinner for her friends that were supposed to arrive at night.

Feeling sad, she went back to her room. She noticed a book that her grandparents had left in her bedside table a few days ago but she didn’t even give it a second look. She passed by it, towards the window, to watch the rain fall.

Not long after that, she was already feeling bored and started pacing the room from one end to the other, while counting her steps.

“One, two, three, four…” After seven strides she turned around and started counting from the top. “One, two, three, four…” And so on.

“How boring!” She complained throwing herself on top of the bed. She let out a huge moan and looked at the book once more. “It has a pretty cover.” She said. She picked it up and looked at it attentively. She looked at its front and at its back, and very slowly, she decided to open it.

“Oi!” From the book came a loud gasp. There was a little mouse yelling at her inside of a bathtub. He tried to grab a towel very quickly, blushing to the colour of a tomato. He kept yelling at her. “Can’t you see I’m trying to have a bath? Close the book! Close the book!”

Pandora closed it. Her eyes were wide open and she was feeling very embarrassed.

“Did you see that Bolt?” She asked. The dog barked in reply.

Pandora went back to counting steps, but this time every time she turned around she eyed the book curiously. After five turns she decided to open it again.

This time, there were rabbits and mice and birds and squirrels, all running around from one little house into the other.

“They look like granny and grandad when they go out shopping at the market.” She said.

She flicked through another page and saw the same mouse she had seen before, but this time he was eating a bowl of molten cheese.

“Hello, again.” She said.

The little mouse looked up and replied. “You again? Can’t a mouse have a little privacy?”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” she apologised. And flicked through a few more pages.

“An unicorn,” she exclaimed.

The unicorn, who was lying down, looked at Pandora. “Well, yes indeed, I am a unicorn.”

“But unicorns don’t exist,” Pandora protested.

“Well, if I am here it’s because I do exist, no? What an insult.”

“I… I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”

“Well, now you do.” The unicorn got up. “But what are you doing looking from up there?” He asked

“I opened this book and…”

“No, that’s not what I am asking. Why don’t you come down here?”

“Because I can’t,” Pandora explained looking at the book in her hands.

“Of course you can. You haven’t even tried and you’re already saying you cannot? Come here.”

“But how?” Pandora asked.

“By simply coming,” the other replied.

Pandora closed her eyes and, when she opened them she wasn’t in her room in her grandparents’ house, she was in the same forest the unicorn was, with Bolt. She didn’t even know how she had done it but the unicorn was looking at her. “Can you or can you not?”

3

Pandora really couldn’t understand how she had gotten there. Even worse: how would she go back home? At least she had Bolt walking faithfully at her side and when the unicorn started talking, she soon forgot.

“There is the Sleeping Valley,” the unicorn pointed at some tall naked trees. “It’s full of sloths that sleep all day. And over there is the Squirrel Corner, they spent the whole day looking for acorn to store during winter. And, have you ever heard the tale of the Ant and the Grasshopper?”

“No,” Pandora answered.

“Those two live over there in that house,” he pointed at a house that almost looked like a boot with pretty chandeliers dangling at the door. “They still don’t get along very well but, the Ant is more relaxed now and the Grasshopper a little more hardworking. There is the Blue Forest…”

Pandora looked at it surprised, she saw large, bulky trees full of leaves that were glowing a blue colour.

“Blue Forest?” She repeated.

“Yes,” the unicorn said. “Where the leaves are blue.”

“But that it’s impossible.”

“Of course it’s possible,” the unicorn tsked. “Can’t you see they are blue? Just has the unicorns also exist so do the blue leaves. Or are you going to tell me there isn’t also green water?”

“No,” Pandora responded. “That exists. My friends’ pool always turns green in the Winter.”

“That is because it is full of algae.” The unicorn explained. “In the Green Lake the water is actually green.”

They kept walking in the forest until they arrived to the little market in town where Pandora had seen the animals shopping. It was called the Town in the Forest, so of course it was a little town inside the forest. The market was calmer now, there weren’t so many animals rushing in the street, and in the air there was a slight scent of cheese, nuts and seeds being cooked. It was lunch time.

“Oi, you!” Somebody said. “You really can’t stop snooping in here, can you? First you were watching me in my house and now you already had to come down here?”

It was the little mouse Pandora had seen when she had open the book for the first time.

“Ratti, calm down,” the unicorn protested. “The girl didn’t know.”

The little mouse suddenly felt embarrassed for accusing someone without knowing the whole story, but he didn’t want to show it. He crossed his arms and kept complaining. “If she didn’t know, she shouldn’t have snooped. I was very well relaxing and this one looks down and says ‘Hello’. I was bathing. Bathing!”

“Ratti,” Pandora finally said. “I am sorry.”

The little mouse, that for a mouse wasn’t so little but even so much smaller than Pandora, suddenly realised how big the girl was and felt very scared. “It’s… it’s alright. It wasn’t a big deal. I was only bathing, nothing special.”

“Ratti, you need not be afraid.” The unicorn soothed. “She won’t hurt you. She won’t hurt anyone; she is just a little girl.”

“A girl? In the Town of the Forest? Impossible!”

“Nothing is impossible, Ratti.” The unicorn reminded the mouse.

“And the dog?”

“My namWOOF is BoltWOOF. And althWOOF you are a very annWOOFing mouseWOOF, I won’t hurt yWOOF.”

“Bolt, you are talking. That can’t be, it’s impossible.”

“Pandora,” the unicorn tsked once more. “Didn’t I just said that nothing is impossible? Have you never heard of talking dogs in books?”

Pandora let her eyes fall and was feeling very ashamed. “No,” she answered, because she had never read a book.

“And you two,” the mouse pried. “What are you doing?”

“I am showing Pandora the forest.” The unicorn retorted.

“So you have told her about the big old bat.”

“No, in fact, I haven’t.”

“Who is the big old bat?” Pandora was very curious.

Ratti still didn’t like Pandora very much, and he wasn’t quite sure if she was going to hurt him or not, but he still replied. “He is a big and old bat that shows up from time to time. He dresses all in black and has big red eyes and sharp claws. He likes to scare the other animals but he doesn’t scare me. Oh, no, I am not afraid of him and, one day, I will teach him a lesson.”

“What kind of lesson? Is it math? I don’t really like math,” Pandora shared.

“No,” the mouse slapped his forehead. “Not that kind of lesson. I still don’t know it. But I will.”

In that precise moment, the street was filled with squeals and a big old bat, dressed in black with big red eyes started flying on top of the heads of everyone still at the market. The animals started screaming and abandoned their baskets on the floor to run to their houses, where they felt safe inside.

“Let’s go. Let’s go,” Ratti pushed them. “Let’s go to my place.”

“But what about the lesson?” Pandora asked.

“Not today, let’s go.”

4

They all ran inside Ratti’s house. Ratti’s house was a big house to accommodate a little mouse but, even so, too small for a girl, her dog and a unicorn.

Trying to get in, Pandora destroyed the table and had to squat and hug her legs in order to fit. The unicorn couldn’t fit entirely and remained with its rear pointing outside the window. Bolt was yelping feeling squeezed against the wall.

“I want to see the girl,” the bat roared in a thunderous voice. “Show me the girl.”

Ratti was feeling very angry for having his house destroyed because of the old bat’s curiosity in Pandora and said. “We should send the girl outside. It’s her he wants. He has never seen a little girl in the Town of the Forest.

“NWOOF,” Bolt barked, showing the little mouse his teeth.

“Ratti,” the unicorn reprimanded. “Just because you don’t like her, doesn’t mean you have to throw her outside.”

“What if he takes too long? My house is already crumbling with the lot of you. I am sure he would feel frightened and leave if he saw her… She should go.”

Pandora, who always was adventurous and wanted to be brave, tried to get up but was barred by the ceiling of Ratti’s house that kept hitting her in the head every time she moved.

Then a weeping sound came from outside. “I want to see the girl.” The big old bat was not demanding anymore but pleading in a whining tone.

“I’ll go,” Pandora said very bravely.

“Pandora, you don’t need to,” the unicorn protested. “Ratti, was just acting like a scared little mouse.”

“Oi!”

“Perhaps, he just wants to be our friend,” Pandora suggested.

Ratti sneered: “A big old bat, our friend? With is mean posture, black clothes and those red eyes?”

If Pandora could move, she would have let her hands rest on top of her hips and tap her foot repeatedly. “My grandmother always says we should never refuse to be friends with someone because of their appearance or the way they dress. I’m going!”

“Alright, alright,” the unicorn said. “But I’m going with you. I refuse to stay here and be scared of a bat. I am a unicorn!”

“Me tWOOF!”

Pandora, who still couldn’t get up, opened the door and crawled outside. Getting up to walk the rest of the way to the crying animal. The bat had his face covered by its long black wings and was sobbing uncontrollably.

“Why are you crying?” Pandora asked.

The bat still didn’t show his face. “I just wanted to see the girl. I have never seen a little girl.”

“Why… why… did you want to see the girl?” Ratti squeaked from behind the unicorn’s leg. “Did you want to bite her? Scare her? Pluck her head off?

“No!” The bat was horrified and finally looked at the little mouse who cringed to hide himself better. “I thought perhaps she would want to be my friend. No one in the forest wants to be my friend. I thought that perhaps she would not be frightened of me.”

“But, I am not frightened of you,” Pandora said. The bat turned around very suddenly, his eyes were glowing red from crying but Pandora wasn’t scared. She felt bad for the poor animal, she liked having friends, she could only assume the old bat liked it too. “And I want to be your friend.”

The bat opened his eyes wide feeling very surprised. “You do?”

“Yes. But you can’t scare animals anymore.”

The bat let his head fall. “I don’t do it on purpose,” he said. “They see me and they just scare themselves.”

Pandora put one hand in her chin trying to come up with a plan. The same way she always did whenever she thought of something to play with her friends.

“Well, then we have to show them you are not so bad.”

“How?” The bat and the others asked in unison.

“I have a plan,” the girl said. “Come on, all of you hold hands.”

Ratti didn’t want to hold one of the bat’s wing, and almost tried to run away but the unicorn jabbed him with the tip of his horn and forced him to be beside the giant, old bat.

Pandora and her friends, holding hands, started walking the high street of the Town of the Forest while yelling to the animals hiding in their houses. “Animals of the forest, you don’t need to be afraid. Look, we are friends with the bat and he didn’t harm us. He just wishes he had someone to play with.”

One by one, the townsfolk started opening up their doors and peeping outside curiously. Some of them were even brave enough to venture closer to the bat, and two or three very brave squirrels gave him a wingshake. By the end of the day, the poor bat had already made some new friends, because sometimes you just need to be the first person to befriend the one no one wants to be friends with, and everyone else soon will follow.

“Pandora,” the unicorn called from above all the cheering around the bat. “It’s time to go.”

“Already? But…”

“You have to. Your friends and family will be waiting for you. I will miss you though.”

“And I you. I will miss all of you.” She was trying her best not to cry in front of everyone in the Town of the Forest. “Goodbye, Ratti. Goodbye, Bat. Goodbye, everyone.”

In the blink of an eye Pandora was waving goodbye to her new friends, and when she blinked once more she was back at her room in her grandparents’ house with Bolt. She was confused and looking at the book in her hands. “Did you see that, Bolt?”

Pandora heard granny calling from downstairs. “Pandora, come downstairs we have a surprise for you.”

She started running down the stairs, despite the fact grandad constantly warned her about how dangerous it was. But she really needed to tell them what she had seen.

“Granny, you will not believe what just happened. I opened the book you gave me and, at first I saw a mouse having a bath. And then I closed it, because he was bathing and he wanted to be alone… And then I opened it again and I saw a unicorn.

“A unicorn?” Granny repeated.

“Yes. He showed me so many beautiful things. And then there was this bat and no one wanted to be friends with him, but I did. And… and Bolt talked.”

“Pandora, that is your imagination working. That is what happens every time you read a book. Books are the best companions for explorers and adventurers, with them you can visit amazing worlds and live courageous adventures just like the one you had now. When you read a book you are always the hero.”

“I am?”

“Yes, dear.”

“Pandora, look who is here.” Grandad was in the front yard with heavy bags from the market, it was not raining anymore but that wasn’t the best part: Mary and Michael were with him. Her friends had finally come back from holidays.

She ran towards them and hugged them, squeezing tight. “Mary, Michael, I have so many things to tell you.

“I can’t believe it,” Granny uttered from the inside.

They all ran inside.

“What is it, Granny?”

“The telly, it just started working on its own. It’s not broken anymore, it’s impossible.”

“Nothing is impossible, Granny. Right, Bolt?”

Everyone else simply heard a bark, but Pandora could hear it as clear as a word what that bark meant “YeWOOF!” She petted Bolt’s hears.

“Pandora, don’t you want to sit and watch cartoons with your friends?”

Pandora smiled.

“No, Grandad, we are going upstairs to read books.”

Pandora’s grandparents laughed and Pandora went to discover new worlds with her friends.

THE END

If you liked this short story don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads page and leave your opinion at: [+ www.goodreads.com/book/show/28464678-pandora-doesn-t-like-to-read+]

This e-book is also available in Portuguese.

Good readings!

17

 


Pandora Doesn't Like to Read

Pandora loves adventures and playing with her friends, that is why she loves going to granny and grandad's house. But this time things don't go as expected. Her friends went on holidays, the telivision is broken and it's raining outside. The only thing left is her grandparents' library. But Pandora hates reading!

  • ISBN: 9781310368523
  • Author: Patricia Morais
  • Published: 2016-01-10 11:35:08
  • Words: 3471
Pandora Doesn't Like to Read Pandora Doesn't Like to Read