Story: The Locket

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A story written by 10-year-old European Falun Gong practitioner Mengling

I had quickly taken a new key from the lock and went through the door. The moment I had entered it I saw that a tiger was pacing around. When he saw me he looked relieved and said in a deep voice: “Ah, Daughter, come. I have a task for you.” He quickly explained that there were twelve lockets and that these lockets had spirits in them. Six bad and six good. My task was to destroy the bad lockets and try to find the good ones before it was too late. I had to find the good lockets before the evil ones eliminated the good, which would be a disaster! The good lockets are most unique there are only the six in the world. If they are destroyed there will never be a substance like them again. I looked at the tiger; he had dark solemn eyes that looked so sad it was queer to watch. I nodded, being unable to speak. Suddenly he was gone in a flurry of orange and black.

I sighed and got on my horse. I rode till midday when I came to a small stream that led to the sea. Being so thirsty, I leapt off my horse and went for a drink. The water was so refreshing that I dove in fully dressed, but without my shoes on. Whilst I was swimming I noticed that a current had swept me down the stream into the sea. That didn’t bother me at all. In fact, I quite enjoyed it. But it was then I spotted a little box tangled in the coral. I swam down and picked it up. Having untangled it, I rose for air. I scrambled back up the steam, which was hard because the current was going the other way. Finally, I was so tired I flopped down beside my horse and lit a fire. After I was quite comfortable I opened the box. And to my surprise I saw that there was a locket inside. The jewel on the locket looked like it was made of sapphire. Inside the box a name was carved. It said “The tear” in fancy letters. I understood and when I had dried myself, I resumed my travels. My horse, Atlantis had a mouthful of grass and we went southeast of the stream.

Late in the afternoon I was really quite hungry and the refreshment of the swim was wearing off. I unsaddled Atlantis and lay down carefully. A magnificent feast appeared at my feet and I gratefully ate something. The last thing I remembered was watching the feast melt away as soon as I had enough. Then I closed my eyes and fell asleep.

The next morning I woke up at round about six. It was already getting light and so I saddled Atlantis and had something to drink before we rode off. It was only eight when I decided to stop by a grassy hill to have breakfast. It was still quite early. After I had breakfast, I went for a walk whilst Atlantis was having a bit of a roll. I climbed up a small hill and in the middle of the hill stood a lotus, the most beautiful lotus I had ever seen. The petals where pink and white and the stem was about as tall as I was! I watched amazed as the petals unfolded and in the middle there was a small box. Full of curiosity I opened the box and inside it contained a locket of the purest emerald that sparkled in the sunshine. The grass looked withered compared to the emerald. And I looked at the name written on the box. It said in gold letters “The lotus.” “Even though it isn’t pink,” I muttered to myself. I was slightly hot when I reached my horse and so I had a drink and rode on.

This time I reached a village by the afternoon. I rode through, not really paying attention to what the market was selling, until I heard a voice shouting: “A locket. Look at it! What will you give me for it?” Full of curiosity I walked over and looked to see what sort of a locket it was. My breath caught in my throat as I saw it was an evil locket, the locket of “Death” later that night I vowed that I would have to destroy it somehow. So when the man was asleep, having taken the locket with him because he wasn’t satisfied with the prices, I transformed into wind and sneaked in through the open window. I took the locket from the hook beside the man’s bed and swept out again. Quickly I threw the locket with all my might and watched as it smashed into a million pieces. A large demon came out and was just about to escape when I caught him in my hand and smashed him to death. After I had transformed into a human again (for, as you remember, I was wind before) I saddled my horse and rode away from the village.

I was dreadfully tired by the time I had escaped the outskirts of the village. I lay down without any dinner in a nearby glade and fell asleep. I woke up, cold and hungry, the next morning at five and had breakfast before continuing the journey. Passing a huge mountain and under a waterfall. I was wet and miserable when midday came. Imagine my happiness when I spied a stream right in front of me. I scrambled off Atlantis and flung myself down beside the stream and drank deeply. The water was so clear I could see the rocky bottom and I filled a flask with it. “So I don’t get thirsty. I may need to go without water for a long time,” I thought. I dipped my arms in right up to the elbows having rolled up my sleeves. My hand could touch the bottom and I swept around, just for fun. To my surprise it wasn’t a rocky bottom that was brushing my fingertips; it was a smooth surface. Frowning I looked down and saw a small box that blended so well with the rocky bottom one wouldn’t even know it was there. I fished it out, which was difficult because it got tangled in the massive mess of coral and reeds, and opened the box. The sunlight made the locket shine like a bright light and so it was a minute or two before I realised what it was. Blinking furiously I took out the locket and saw that the nameplate written on the inside of the box said “Purity.”

Taking a deep breath I got back on Atlantis and rolled down my sleeves again. As I rode away I quickly encountered a large tree blocking our way. Muttering about how tired I was I dismounted and led Atlantis over the tree safely. After mounting again I glanced up briefly whilst I was in the middle of shortening Atlantis’s reins and froze with horror. My eyes darted to what I had overlooked. We had reached the sea. For a moment I was too shocked to notice what I was doing and so I don’t know what happened exactly, but Atlantis threw up his legs in pain. It was then I realised I had shortened the reigns so much the strap had cut into Atlantis’ neck. Mumbling an apology I quickly loosened the reigns and gave him a sugar lump. I got into the saddle once more and we trotted towards the shore. Gritting my teeth, for I knew the chance I was taking might ruin everything, but that couldn’t be helped, Atlantis showed he didn’t like water. He quickly turned around and trotted in the opposite direction. Gasping to keep hold of the reigns, I turned the other direction and poor Atlantis had to obey. We started to gallop and then Atlantis reared up on his rear legs and started to paddle helplessly in the water. But I soon realised that we weren’t going to sink and opened my eyes, which I’d kept closed for the last sixty seconds. I gasped and then I realised the truth, Atlantis was living after his name! “I should have known,” I muttered to myself “that Atlantis came from the lost empire of Atlantis!” which meant that he could fly as well as swim! What a useful horse you are I thought to myself and let my legs trail in the water. At midday I was exceptionally hungry and I was a bit worried seeing nothing but water after water for hours on end. Atlantis seemed to be enjoying himself though. He kept on giving whinnies of welcome every time a fish or a dolphin passed, which they often did, and he and the dolphins would try and communicate with each other. It was very queer to see a horse talking to a dolphin so at first I enjoyed it and thought I was the only person who had ever crossed an ocean on horseback. Soon a storm came and even Atlantis was getting rather tetchy. Waves as big as elephants crashed over horse and rider and I was soaked to the skin within five minutes. Gulping down a lot of seawater I had to hold my breath as my head disappeared under the water. All I could hear was Atlantis’s desperate neigh for help and the thunder of the waves. At last the waves won and I was knocked unconscious. Atlantis was still fighting to hold on and his life hung by a thread. I was lucky that I had kept the reigns tied around my hands so that I did not lose Atlantis. It was he who dragged the both of us to shore the next morning. Even though I had sprained my wrist badly I felt cheerful when I came round the next morning. Atlantis, who was still fast asleep, had lots of cuts and bruises all over him. So whilst he was still asleep, I attended to him.

When I had finished putting cream on the final wound I decided to go for a swim. Diving into the water I thought about the events from last night and how I would never go swimming in the sea again unless necessary. As I dived right to the bottom my ears popped, but I didn’t mind for I had seen some shells. I opened one and found a pearl glistening inside. I took it out, examined it and put it in my pocket. I also had enough breath to go get an enormous shell that lay at the bottom of the seabed. I rose for air with it, gulping it down in short blasts, for I had not recovered yet. Imagine my amazement when I found that there was a box inside, not, as I suspected, a giant pearl. I quickly opened the box and found that I had found yet another locket. It said on the nameplate “The peace.” I shrugged and swam towards the shore. The first thing I noticed was that Atlantis had awakened and was eating the sugar lumps from my bag. I shook my head and quickly picked up my bag before he had eaten them all.

After drying in the hot sun, I saddled Atlantis and rode away from the beach. I came to a small village after about half an hour of riding. Apparently, some sort of a queen was coming around and all her people were getting things ready. I watched as the Queen turned up in a magnificent carriage drawn by six white horses. But as soon as I looked up I saw that around the Queen’s neck was a locket. It was a dark purple colour and I bit my lip till blood came. The locket of “Jealousy” was around the Queen’s neck. I knew it had changed her personality. for the people next to me were whispering things like “Ever since she got that locket she’s been acting strangely,” or “ It seems the Queen had changed overnight,” I sighed and went away for I couldn’t listen to any more. I spent the rest of my time in the rocky hills around that village and found a cave to spend the night. Just as usual, when the Queen had gone to bed I turned myself into wind and went through the window. The Queen had worn the locket to bed and this made my task harder. I carefully cut the locket’s chain with a pair of scissors that I found on the dressing table. When I finally had the locket free I went back through the window and closed it. “I would make a great thief,” I muttered darkly to myself. Back outside I smashed the locket and buried the remains of it in the flowerbed. Just when the clock struck midnight, the demon came out, it’s eyes blazing with fury. When it saw me, it jumped and was going to get away, but I caught him and stomped him to death. This time I stayed in the village to see what the reaction was. The next morning at the palace there was a great commotion when the queen discovered she had lost her locket, but she forgot about it soon. And the village returned to normal.

I knew it was time to go and so I saddled Atlantis again. We rode south to where I fell through a very light earth. Atlantis and I discovered a valley full of butterflies. Not a single soul passed through that blessed place and I was sure no one had ever been to that place. So I called it the butterfly valley and walked in and out of the butterflies. The first group I passed was a swarm of Adonis Blues, then some Peacocks and, finally, I came across some bright yellow butterflies that I had never seen before. Then I saw a strange sight: a huge group of the most beautiful butterflies I had ever seen appeared and then I saw her, their Queen. But then I saw with shock that she was a fairy with light delicate wings and wore a long dress with a tiny golden crown resting on her head. I realised then that they were not butterflies. They were all fairies but they were hiding from me. And so I changed the name of the valley to Valley of the Fairies. The fairies said that I could come and visit sometimes. It was then I saw the exit. After a glum good-bye, with Atlantis by my side, I pushed through the light, crusty earth and after lots of struggling we both came to the surface.

“Well, that took one’s breath away,” I murmured softly. Atlantis didn’t seem to be affected by what we had just witnessed and just strolled on boldly as usual but I could see an unnatural twinkle in his eye that was not there before. At midday I came across another village and found myself thinking “Another village? How many are there in this district?” But I still went on. This time there was a huge crowd people rushing past me and some were bringing water with them. Full of curiosity I followed them to see what the rush was. “Have they found gold or something?” I joked. But the problem turned out to be very serious indeed. A house had caught fire and no one knew how or why. I found that there was a mystery somewhere. I tied Atlantis to a tree so he wouldn’t run away. He was frightened by the flames. Then I walked through the back door to where the kitchen was and I saw immediately what the problem was. It was because the people who lived in this house had just found a locket, the locket of “Fire.” The Fire locket was a good locket but it was also very fierce and demanding. It didn’t like being in the house of an ordinary human and so it started to spout fire. That was what had caused the fire itself. I had to call out the water spirit to put out fire. When the locket had finally cooled down I took the it and escaped without anyone seeing me, through the back door. I walked over to Atlantis who was straining so hard to reach me and to get away from the horrible flames that his nostrils were flaring and he had foam on his forehead. His eyes were also a bit red. I hurried over and untied him quickly so he wouldn’t hurt himself any more. The moment Atlantis was freed he dashed into the cover of the trees with me being dragged behind, running as fast as I could. Even though I was tired I still knew how to mount a horse when it’s moving and so, with some difficulty, I swung myself into the saddle and directed Atlantis to the edge of the trees where the village ends. I was still puffing a bit and Atlantis was still flecked with bits of foam as we set out on the rest of our voyage.

Little did I know that there were a lot of villages in the district and I must look for the lockets in all of them. But what I did know was I had entered a new country and that there was a King here. I entered a village and saw that something was wrong. This village had no life. Everything was silent and quiet. I saw that everyone was at home, but with a fatal disease. I frowned and thought that it was impossible that everyone had the same disease. Even the cats and dogs had this disease and it could kill a single cow in hours. I walked through feeling cold right to the tips of my toes. In every window I peeped in and saw the same scene, the same misery and pain, in all the windows. None of them held the key to where the disease was coming from until I peeped into the second to the last cottage with a tumbled down shed. An old man lay half dead on his bed and beside him was the “disease” locket! I froze everything, went in and grabbed it. But I needn’t have frozen anything for the old man was sleeping. I quickly destroyed the locket and broke the spell. The demon came out and I eliminated him quickly. Everyone in the terrace came out blinking and stretching for they had all been in bed before. The dogs were barking and chasing each other for a mouldy bone and some were a bit interested in Atlantis, even though he was wary of them.

I could still see a house that held misery, though. So I went to investigate. A young man was working in his field and moaning about how his wife was going to give birth to a baby and how he wasn’t there. I was sad at this sight and so I offered to help whilst the man could be there for the birth of his baby. The young man was grateful and he showed it. He asked whether I would like any money and I said that I would be willing to work for free. The young man ran back to his house and I tied a piece of rope to Atlantis and let him plough the earth whilst I was planting the seeds. I was guiding Atlantis where to plough when my eye caught a little brown box in the soil. Frowning, I took it out. I muttered words of disgust when I saw that it was an evil locket and when I heard a desperate cry from the house I quickly took out the locket to see what it was. It had the words “the unlucky.” I gave a little cry of triumph and quickly and deliberately put it in front of Atlantis so the plough crushed the locket. Then I buried it in the soft soil. I noticed a demon came out so I eliminated it just before the young man came rushing back to claim that his baby was lucky to have lived and that it was a boy. I smiled and untied Atlantis’s reigns that were tied to the plough and, after I had said goodbye, led him away.

I rode to the Palace of the King to see what he was like. As I rode there I passed a fighting competition. Two men were in the ring and were going to fight to the death. I was watching in case anyone got hurt. As the bell struck, I saw, to my great disappointment, that one of the men was wearing a locket, the locket of “fighting.” I shivered as I realised that this was the most violet one of all the lockets and I knew what I had to do. Freezing the whole crowd who was jeering and cheering at the men, I cut the locket free. Leading Atlantis, I went to the cover of the nearby bushes and there I stamped on the locket and whilst I was trying to break it the spirit or the demon came out and I didn’t realise it. Atlantis did, though, and threw up his legs in panic. I lifted my head at the very last second, gasped, and leaped out the way. Having frozen time I started it again and poured boiling hot oil onto the demon. He moaned and groaned but finally melted away. Breathing hard, I went back to the ring to see what was happening. The man who had been wearing the locket didn’t want to fight any more. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Having sorted out that problem, I mounted Atlantis and we both went to the palace. The king was very young but a great king. He cared for his subjects and was a man of prudence and understanding. I saw why. Around his neck he wore the locket of “luck.” I took it with his permission and left him and his subjects some books and maybe a leaflet or so and went on with my travels.

Just as I was leaving, a man came to me and gave me the locket of “Old age,” which I quickly destroyed there and then. I saw that the man who was old a minute ago became younger and that he was a mere boy. Pressing a finger to my lips for silence as the demon came out, I eliminated him easily. The boy looked like he was going to scream. I gestured him to be silent and left quickly.

I headed to where I had first met the tiger and, sure enough, he was pacing again. When he saw me he congratulated me for completing the task, but he also said there was a last locket I had not found. He told me that locket would have all the power of the rest and that I must find it. That was if I were willing to go, of course. For if I didn’t want to go, I could still go back to my own world. I said that I would like to go. I hate to leave a task half done. The tiger told me that it was the locket of “Power” I had to search for and I must be careful. He also told me that people think it doesn’t exist because it is that rare. I mounted Atlantis and rode away. I looked back at the tiger but, when I blinked, he was gone.

I followed the directions the tiger had given me. When I came to a mountain I was weary and Atlantis was getting tetchy again. The mountain was covered with snow. I knew what I had to do; even though I was sure it would work, I was a bit nervous. Atlantis reared up on his legs, I gritted my teeth and we were up! As you probably know, Atlantis could fly as well as swim. We flew till I spotted a cave. We went to investigate. Inside the cave it was dark and damp. But when I shone a candle around, I shrieked and backed out. A dragon lay guarding his royal treasure and he had awakened when I shrieked. Atlantis flapped the wings that came out of his shoulders and we both flew high above the cave. I moaned because I had seen a box and I could almost feel the presence of the locket. So I waited. And waited. I was just getting sleepy when I suddenly saw a dark shape glide out beneath us. It was the dragon. I breathed freely when he had disappeared from view and Atlantis and I flew down again. Cautiously, I entered the cave with Atlantis following. I think Atlantis knew it was an important occasion and so he kept quiet. I saw the box and snatched it. But suddenly the sunlight was blocked out. The dragon had returned! He shot out flames and Atlantis and I flew away quickly. I realised I had a slight burn on my arm but that didn’t matter. I opened the box and took out the locket. “Power,” I muttered to myself and suddenly felt like I was on top of the world. We both flew back to where the tiger was and gave him all the lockets. “Well done,” were his words. That evening after a sorrowful parting with Atlantis I went back through the door in the air and the key turned silver. I hung it up under its name plaque.

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