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Hi, my name is Kyla
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The Toymaker's Daughter

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Story Rating   3.84  with 282 vote(s)
By Original_screen_name Send DollMailSend Email
Created: 2008-02-07 15:12:42 All stories by Original_screen_name
Many years ago when I was young and full of life, I lived with my father, Pipperel the Toymaker. He was a like magician with a chisel for a wand and he put life into everything he made. People came from all over to see his work at our little shop and even the Lords and Ladies of the high Court of Raine could find no better workmanship than his.

My father had dark hair like embers and sparkling blue eyes. His skin was the same brown as the wood he shaped so expertly. His arms were strong from when he had to go into to wood to cut down trees but his hands were quick and skilled, they knew exactly how to carve a delicate face for a doll or to shape a grotesque mask for a theatre man. My father’s voice was like the gently rumbling thunder that sounds before the soft summer rains, and his nose was long and pointed. He told me once that before he was Pipperel the Toymaker he was a puppet called Pinocchio and that was why he knew just the way to make wood alive.

My father loved to tell stories, sometimes they were true tales about people he’d known as a boy, and sometimes he made them up as he went along. He delighted in changing the ways of well-known fables. My father always laughed when the prince locked himself in a tower or the king roasted the goose who laid the golden eggs, and I would lie back on my pillows in the bed he made for me eternally requesting one more story from him, usually he obliged.

As my father’s business grew, he came to have less time for me, everyone wanted one of Pipperel’s toys or clocks or marionettes, and nothing else would satisfy them. I saw him less and less during the day and so I stayed up waiting for him to finish with his business for the night so I could hear just one story before I went to sleep. Usually I wound up dozing off without him, but on the night he found me, fighting my heavy eyelids at one in the morning, he promised I would have all the stories I liked without ever having to wait for him.

My father hurried to his workshop then, even though he himself was so tired and started to work with his chisel. I woke the next day at an unusually late hour, to see the most amazing castle I’d ever laid eyes on sitting atop my desk.

It had everything the Fairy Tale castles always had, from the tallest tower to the dank dungeon. It was a beautiful miniature, and it seemed to me that every fairy tale I had ever heard had taken place inside its walls. As I examined the wondrous gift more closely I discovered that my father had also taken the time to make me all of the castles residents. From the maids, to the Royal family to the evil Witch they were all there, all of them perfect in every respect, and they were all for me. I called it my Doll Palace, the place from which all of Fairy land was ruled by the Benevolent Queen Kalista and her husband King Darin.

I spent the rest of the day there with my doll palace, thinking of stories for the dolls to act out. It was a pleasant game, and I’m sure no child ever was graced with such marvelous toys as I had that day, and so by the time I was ready to sleep I was happy and tired out, yet still slightly disappointed. Making up my own stories was exciting and fun when I was awake, but I needed a story from my father before I could sleep. That was when I noticed the soft noises coming from my castle. I sat up in my bed to see what was going on and let out a soft gasp. The dolls were alive. I tiptoed over and sat on top of my desk, afraid to set the castle back on the floor and accidentally hurt one of its minute residents.

As I watched them a story slowly unfolded about a princess cursed to be paranoid and her troubles with spinning wheels. It was my father’s story in every way and before long I was sound asleep. It became a habit for me, even as I grew older and went to school during the day, to always fall asleep right next to my Doll Palace. Before long my father had carved more houses and people, a whole little town all my own. I don’t remember many of the stories they told me, because more often than not my eyelids would begin to droop somewhere in the middle, but I do remember one very vividly, because it was the last one the Doll Palace ever told me.

It began in one of the merchant’s shops in the town, one I hadn’t noticed before that night. It was a neat square house with two floors and intricate carvings on the door. I noted absently that in many ways it resembled our house and store. The windows of the lower floor cast flickering candlelight onto the floor of my room. Inside the house a man was sitting behind a counter trying to compose a letter. He held the quill above a blank piece of parchment and almost wrote something several times, but he could never manage to get more than a word down without scribbling it out in frustration. He checked his cuckoo clock, and then turned his eyes to a more elaborate time piece adorned with a golden pendulum. They both showed him the same thing; it was time for him to leave. He knew that his assistant could make enough toys run the shop for a year or until he came back, whichever came first.

The man had been grating on the nerves of the town’s nobility for quite some time, they couldn’t manage to accept that a poor carpenter could be so well off.

“Wealth is for the nobility,” they told him, “you forget your station.”

“Not so much as you have forgotten yours, sir.” He had replied to one of them. “Where is the noble in your nobility, my lord?”

As soon as he had said it he had wanted to bite off his tongue. Such words to his betters would not be tolerated, he really had forgotten himself. But, truth be told, he was too far in now to reject his beliefs. He wouldn’t bend under their will and he couldn’t let them destroy him. The man had to get away though; this was not the first time his mouth had gotten him and his family into trouble. He would have to ask the fairies for a favor, he needed to be sure his daughter would be safe while he was away, and he needed something to keep her from worrying about her father. In short he needed more magic than he possessed. It would be a long journey and he would have to stay low for a while. The man had offended a nobleman with powerful allies and he knew they would act quickly against him if they could, perhaps even taking their anger out on his daughter.

He picked up the bag he had packed earlier that day and took one last look around at his home. His eyes fell on his puppets; their familiar forms and faces, and his dolls with their dainty features and glassy eyes. He gave one last smile to his work table, covered in curly wood shavings and gauges from where he had accidentally sent his chisel into it. He took in his walls filled with their many clocks one last time, and his sketches of new projects he would never be able to complete. His gaze fell on the back staircase in the corner that led up the second floor where he lived, but the man quickly glanced away from that, he couldn’t think about what he was doing to her. It was all for her own safety, he wasn’t abandoning her.

The man sighed and left the store, he started off on a stretch of floor I knew was a path out of the town. The story should have stopped there, because the doll-man was walking away from all the carved houses in the town around the Doll Palace, but I found I knew without a doubt where he was, not on the wooden floor of my room walking away from me, but instead he was on the edge of the town beginning a weary journey he wouldn’t come back from. I lost track of time, watching that doll, as he made his way through a forest and over a sea, things I saw more in my mind’s eye than carved into wood. He stayed in inns sometimes but mostly spent his nights on the ground. He might have walked for a month or two, maybe longer. He walked until he wore out the bottoms of his shoes and had to buy new ones when he came to a town. He walked until the stubble on his chin became a full, dark beard. He walked until he came to a far away town, where a very old man sat in a wood working shop of his own, long-closed because of his arthritis.

“Father?” said the man smiling gently.

The old man squinted up at him through his glasses, and fingered his white mustache for a minute before jumping up and embracing him.

“Look who it is who came to see me, eh?” He said. “Pichichio, it’s been too long!”

The man smiled at his father’s use of his childhood nickname, “Yes, Gep, I know that all too well. I wish I could say this was just a social visit, but I need your help.”

“You haven’t been lying again?” asked Gep smiling teasingly at the man.

“No, not quite, but I did manage to make some very powerful enemies with my foolish words. I need you to help me find Cyana, the fairy doesn’t live where she used to.”

“Cyana?” The old man stroked his mustache “She’s been given a job with some dragon; you know they’re paranoid about treasure and that, yes? She said she’d help guard it if they taught her the Dragon Magics.”

“A dragon?” said Pichichio “I can’t face a dragon.” he sighed and closed his eyes to think. Finally he turned to the old man “Does Jedios still sell enchantments?”

“Yes, but he’s raised the prices a bit. Doubtless, you’ll need to grant him some huge sum in return.”

“Will it be worse than Dragons?”

The old man laughed “Pichichio, my son, nothing is worse than a hungry mother dragon.”

Pichichio nodded and said goodbye to his father, politely turning down his request that he stay the night first, since he wanted to get started as soon as possible.

He found Jedios in a house even tinier and more dilapidated than Gep’s. Apparently the man didn’t waste magic on trivial repairs, although Pichichio thought the hole in the roof looked mildly serious. He knocked softly on the door, afraid too much force would cause it to fall in on top of the magician.

“Go away!” shouted a voice from the inside of the hut. “Whatever you’re selling I’ve already got one!”

Pichichio was taken aback for a second at the youthful tones Jedios still possessed. Had he enchanted himself with eternal youth? Pichichio dared to knock again a little bit harder.

“Excuse me, sir?” he said “I need a favor.”

“Everybody needs a favor.” said the voice grumpily “I’ll solve your problem for free— Tie a big rock to your foot and go jump in a lake!”

The man took a deep breath “Sir? It’s Pichichio—I’ll pay you for your trouble.”

“Pay!” said the voice “Now he says the magic word! Come in, come in. I might as well talk to you now I’ve shouted meself hoarse over you.” The door opened of its own accord with a threatening creak.

Jedios hadn’t aged a day since Pichichio had last seen him. His hair was still its same shade of red, and his eyes were still grey and greedy, searching him over for a bulging purse before he smiled and offered Pichichio a chair.

“You need a favor.” said the magician in a sing-song voice “Pichichio’s in trouble!” he eyed the man’s nose “You haven’t been lying, have you?”

“No.” said Pichichio flatly “I’m in a hurry, Jedios.” he explained his situation as quickly and succinctly as he could, telling the red head what he needed.

“Protection spell.” said Jedios “That’s sweet.” He smiled displaying three gold teeth “And it will cost you. Luckily for you, I am a kind man. Instead of charging you money like I should, I’ll require you to fetch me two items I am in great need of for my potion. It may be”, he paused, searching for the right words, “challenging, to obtain them. But I have faith in your ability to mess everything up and so I know you wouldn’t come to me unless you were desperate.”

He handed Pichichio a piece of parchment with the two ingredients written on it, White Snakeroot and Larkspur, neither were especially hard to come across at a town market, provided the searcher had two or three pockets full of gold. The man sighed; the magician might have just billed him for that much instead of making him buy the stupid plants.

“I can come back to you next month with these.” said Pichichio, at the same time wondering how on in the name of the Benevolent Queen Kalista he could come up with the gold.

Pichichio left Jedios after that and went back to Gep’s house to find his father was still awake reading, despite the late hour. They discussed the problem and the next day Gep opened his shop for the first time in fifteen years. Pichichio spent the day carving and whittling toys just as he had at his own shop and Gep worked the counter. The days were long and tiring, and at first business was slow, but with people spreading the news by word of mouth they had enough money after a fortnight when they combined their profits with what little money Pichichio had and a few spare coins chipped in by Gep.

When Pichichio showed up at Jedios’s door a week early he was greeted in the same way as before. However, this time he pushed the door open himself instead of waiting outside and set the pouch with the plants on the table. He saw the magician’s eyes light up as they fell upon the valuable cuttings.

“Good.” said the Magician. “Of course they’ll be useless by the time I need them, but I don’t suppose you care about that.” He enclosed the plants in a glass box which he locked with the key hanging on a chain around his neck. Then, when Pichichio cleared his throat loudly he looked up again, clearly annoyed. “Yes, your spell.” He stood and moved to a circle drawn on the floor in the only clear corner of the tiny house. Jedios muttered in Latin briefly and drew figures in the air with his hands. Finally he closed his eyes and pushed his arms outward so they fell outside the circle.

“There you are.” he said. “Now unless you want to do me anymore favors you’d best be on your way. If you hurry you can miss the trouble waiting for you on the road ahead, if not” he shrugged “Well, anyways, it’s a good thing I passed that Protection spell over your house. It’s retroactive, by the way. They shouldn’t have a clue you’re gone, and now they won’t have had one since you left. That’s quality. If I were a lesser man I’d charge you extra for it.” He frowned and then swore “I should have charged him extra for it!” he muttered. “Get out.” he said to Pichichio “You’ll be quick about getting back if you know what’s good for you.”

Pichichio nodded, murmured his thanks and hurried out the door. He had to get home now, what was the trouble Jedios had been talking about? He passed Gep’s house on his way out of town and hesitated before going in. He couldn’t leave without saying goodbye again. When he entered the store he found the old man with his head laid down on the counter breathing shallowly.

“Gep?” said Pichichio, hurrying to the old man’s side and putting an arm under him to give him support. “Don’t worry” he said “I’ll get you to your bed. You’ll be okay, must just be too much excitement from running a store again. Don’t worry.”

When he finally got his father to the bed he found his brow was warm with fever and that the man was delirious, lost from reality completely.

“The whale” he muttered “Let’s gets out of the whale, eh Pinocchio?”

Pichichio laid cool cloths on his forehead and made soup from the meager ingredients in the kitchen cupboards. He stayed next to his father as much as he could, feeling it would be disgraceful to leave him to die, even if he ran into trouble later on the road. He smiled as the old man relived his past talking to a Pichichio who was still young mischievous and a compulsive liar.

The night stretched on and he watched as the life slowly faded from Gep’s eyes. The hand held so tightly in Pichichio’s slowly went cold and finally he had to accept that his father was gone from the world. He wept then, unable to stop himself and for the first time in years not caring. When the cold dawn crept over the horizon Pichichio wiped his face and found a shovel in the back of the store. He spent that day in the town burying his father and the next day carving him a headstone. After that Pichichio packed his things and left. He had nothing in that town anymore, but before he went on his way he took one of the puppets from Gep’s shelves. It was a small boy with dark hair, a long nose and eyes sparkling with mischief. It was, in a way, Pichichio’s first puppet, and so he took it with him.

He made his way back through all the little towns he’d come by on his way to his old home and then across the sea and back through the woods until he finally was walking back on the same path into town he’d left on. Pichichio had almost reached his little shop again when a man came at him from across the road.

“There you are.” said the man “Finally crawled out of whatever hole you were hiding in, eh, Toymaker?”

Pichichio went very pale. Was this danger the one Jedios had said he would face? “I am not a man to hide in holes, my lord.” said Pichichio. “I try not to infringe on the customs of noblemen. It seems they’re very sensitive about that.”

“Such insolence.” said the man. “You haven’t changed. I would run you through with my sword, but then I’d have to wash to scum off it.”

“Ah,” said Pichichio letting the words escape off his tongue faster than his brain could manage to control them “ Well, my lord, that makes you stupid and lazy.”

The other man didn’t waste anymore time talking and faster than you could say “I’m sorry” Pichichio was on the ground with a gash in his chest. He smiled at his victory over a weaker, unarmed opponent and strode away without another glance at the dying man.

Pichichio took a deep breath, he felt himself slipping away. “At least she had the Dolls Palace.” he thought. And then he was gone.

After the dolls stopped moving I sat for a minute in shock. The man in the story, Pichichio, was my father. It had been in the back of my mind since the beginning of the tale, because of the way he talked and thought, even the way he moved was perfect. Now it was very clear to me that the story wasn’t just a Fairy Tale.

I stood up and ran out of my room, thundering down the stairs and through the workshop, I burst outside. It was a cold night and the wind bit viciously through my thin nightdress. I couldn’t stop my pounding feet, down the street and into the alley where my father had been killed. There was no body on the ground, no blood, just a broken puppet with dark hair like embers and sparkling blue eyes. I scooped him up in my arms, and only then did I realize I was crying.

I went inside, cradling the marionette like a child. I set it in my father’s room, where dust had been gathering without my noticing all the time he had been gone. I felt an empty sinking in my chest. I hadn’t realized he was gone. I had never wondered where my father Pipperel, Pinocchio, was. If I had I would have gone after him instead of just making my way everyday to my neighbor’s house for school.

Then the realization came to me, if I hadn’t been relying on my Dolls Palace for the stories from my father I would have noticed his absence, and gotten worried. I would have raised a ruckus looking for him and then the man who killed my father would have found me, instead of being clueless because of the protection spell. It had saved my life. My father had saved my life with his Dolls Palace. And I hadn’t known.

I sank onto his bed and cried into his pillow. The scent was the familiar pine I knew from childhood to be what my father smelled like. I breathed it in deeply and finally fell asleep there with the Pinocchio puppet in my arms.

The Dolls Palace fell silent after that night. It didn’t have anymore stories to tell me after that, because now I knew where my father was. As the years went by I taught myself my father’s trade and made my own puppets. I didn’t sell toys though. That wasn’t for me; I found no joy in that aspect of the job. I started a traveling show with my marionettes, telling the stories my father told me to other children. It felt nice to be able to give to them what Pichichio had given me, and I called it The Doll Palace in memory of my father, my own childhood toy castle, and the extraordinary magic I found in both of them.

Member Comments  
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All My Stories
Posted On: November 30, 2008
This story is so good. I read it twice. XD


Suwanee, GA
All My Stories
Posted On: November 4, 2008

Portland, OR
All My Stories
Posted On: July 21, 2008
To those who think it's too long, if she made it any shorter there would be not enough descriptions. I'd rather read a story that is too long rather than too short! 5 frea*kin' stars

Tucson, AZ
All My Stories
Posted On: July 5, 2008
you need to find a publiher. this story could make you alot of money

Zionsville, IN
All My Stories
Posted On: July 5, 2008
Wow. All the drama in these comments makes me smile. I forgot how people hated this story during that contest because it was too long and it was different. ^____^

Someone stole the USB drive I won in that contest. I left it in the computer at the at the school library by accident and someone just up and took it. Probably because it had a princess on it so it was extremely awesome.

I miss that USB drive. I don't remember what was on it, but I miss it. It's all I can do to cry myself to sleep at night and run away screaming whenever I see another USB drive being loved by its owner with no idea that there is a USB thief out there waiting, just waiting to take it away and delete all the files on it to make room for their files.

*sniff* I'm going to bed now....


All My Stories
Posted On: June 8, 2008

I just re-read this, and, wow....

That is ridicouly amazing ;]



All My Stories
Posted On: June 5, 2008
If only we could rate it up to whatever we liked. I'd probably kick it up to 9,999,999,999,999,999,999,999 stars.

Fort Worth, TX
All My Stories
Posted On: February 8, 2008
Lovely! That's all I can say 'till I judge! Good Luck!

Zionsville, IN
All My Stories
Posted On: February 7, 2008
The 251 votes are because it was in a site-wide story contest. I was one of the first entries so a lot of votes built up. That's all.

Riverview, FL
All My Stories
Posted On: December 2, 2007
Your wayyyy too good, you have 261 votes, and the most I get are up to about 15 votes

United Kingdom
All My Stories
Posted On: October 19, 2007

All My Stories
Posted On: August 30, 2007
OMFG!!!HOLY CRA.P GIRL! U ARE GREAT! I ENVY U *SOOOO* MUCH! Excellent job on this fairy tale. No wonder it won that contest!

Groom Creek, AZ
All My Stories
Posted On: January 19, 2007
5 freakin stars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Groom Creek, AZ
All My Stories
Posted On: January 19, 2007

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!HOW IN THE WORLD COULD YOU EVER COME UP WITH THIS????????????????? you ARE my idol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That was have SO much talent...i just can't even explain it....

All My Stories
Posted On: October 5, 2006

The equivalent to 5 stars

It rocks!
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