It was a dream come true. Somehow, along with all of the children, a library had been brought from her world into the dragon city in the trees. Nine-year-old Paris walked inside with a solemnness usually reserved for a holy place, like the synagogue her parents took her to in Prague when she was six.
The library had merged with the forest. Trees were growing inside and bursting through the ceiling, and grasses were taking over the floorboards. She wondered where and when it came from. The globe in the corner didn’t look modern, but most of the books she could see seemed recent.
Then she realized only some of them were in English, and about only half were written in any human language.
“You aren’t one library.” She giggled and then pirouetted among the litter on the floor. “You’re lots of libraries. Maybe you’re all of them, and you’re here with me.”
Ever since she had arrived in the tree house city with her brothers and sisters, she tried to find a way to fit in with all of the other children living with the dragons. Not even their friend and mentor Shay, the magnificent golden dragon and the closest thing to a mother most of these kids had, knew what magic had brought them from the human world into this mystical exile.
Paris had always been a shy and quiet child, devoted to her reading, as if the books she consumed were here only friends and family. Thousands of homeless and unwanted waifs from across all of time resided here, and some of them were readers like her, but she didn’t think there would be any books, except for the one gift she had received from the elves on the journey across the Dark Hills.
Octavius was going to love this place. So were Almira and Phoebe. She had to tell them right away. Paris started to run back toward the door but then stopped. There was a book at her feet. “I can’t just leave you here.” Picking it up, she blew the dust off of the cover. “Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.”
She opened the book to the introduction. “Seventeen-year-old Catherine Morland is one of ten children of a country clergyman. Although a tomboy in her childhood, by the age of 17 she is ‘in training for a heroine.'”
The girl lifted a chair from the floor with her free hand and set it by a table. Then sitting down, she began to read. “Octavius and the others can wait a bit.” Within a world of the fantastic, one inhabited by dragons, demons, and elves, Paris entered one even more magical.
I wrote this for Tale Weaver – #172 –Libraries – 24 May 2018 hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The idea is to use the image above as well as the various quotes on the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie page, to craft a poem, short story, or some other creative work.
I’ve just finished posting the eighteenth chapter of my Davidson children fantasy series and have the five children (six actually) on my mind, including little “bookworm” Paris.
This tale is set sometime after they all arrive at the mythical tree house city of Vovin (yes, they’ll finally make it). I don’t think I’ll really include a library in this fantasy world, though it’s not out of the question, but given the “organic” nature of where the dragons and children live in their vast home by the sea, the image definitely lent itself to such a setting.
The synagogue Paris mentions is Altneuschul or the “Old New Synagogue,” which is the oldest active synagogue in Europe and located in Prague, Bohemia, Czech Republic.
Northanger Abbey was the first of Jane Austen’s novels to be completed for publication in 1803.