Children and youth

Secrets of Wonderland

Terra Pries

Secrets of Wonderland

The Queen Returns

Reading:

Chapter 1
Down the Rabbit’s Hole

“Hurry up; we are going to be late,” yelled Ellen. She impatiently stood waiting in her ballgown at the bottom of the staircase. “I feel like somecthing is missing from my costume and I need your help to figure out what it is,” she continued yelling up the stairs to her sister Megan.
From the top of the stairs, Megan appeared dressed as Jasmine and looking very condescending toward Cinderella below. “Do you have your shoes on?” she chuckled.
Ellen lifted her dress to reveal a pair of blue sparkly flipflops. “They are a long way from glass slippers but at least my feet will not be killing me by the end of the night. Though if we don’t get going soon it won’t matter at all, Princess Jasmine,” she teased.
“Oh, just calm down, Cinderella, your pumpkin is not even here yet,” laughed Megan.
Ellen shot back, “I thought we were taking your magic carpet.”
With that, Megan descended the stairs and took a closer look. “Gloves. You forgot your gloves. You can’t be a proper princess without those. I mean, not that your footwear suggests that you are royalty, but you know. Well, at least no one else will be able to see that.” Ellen walked over to the table and grabbed them quickly, dropping one on the floor. Megan bent down to picked it up, tossed it at Ellen, smiling. “Hurry up! Now who is going to make us late?”

Meanwhile, across town Alice was putting the finishing touches on her Wonderland’s Fairy Tale Ball. The foyer was decorated to be a trip down the rabbit’s hole. There was a large table draped in colorful fabrics filled with 20 brightly decorated tea kettles from around the world, with one teacup to match each one. They were of various shapes, sizes, and colors. In the middle of the table were six unique cakes representing different cultures in the most elaborate fashion. It perfectly matched what you would expect the Mad Hatter’s tea party to look like. As the guests passed through the foyer they would be ushered into the ballroom by what seemed to be a life-size deck of cards bearing the hearts suit. Then the Queen of Hearts herself would be there to welcome each guest into the enchanted forest.
Upon the opening of the ballroom doors, the sight of the enchanted forest was magical. The room sparkled in twinkle lights and gems that elegantly hung on trees which stood all around the room. The whole thing made you feel as though you had stepped into a forest in your favorite fairy tale. In the middle was a dance floor that appeared to be made of glass, which reflected the lights from the trees. The opulence of the scene was enough to take your breath away. There in the corner sat Alice, carefully arranging the last of the white roses around an enormous arch that was set as a backdrop to be used by the photographer. Everything was almost in place. Soon the first cars would be arriving at the gate. Alice placed the last flower, then stepped back to admire all the hard work she had put into making everything perfect. To think, in just a few short hours all of this would hopefully prove to be a success.
Just then the Queen of Hearts tapped her shoulder. “Alice, you’re not even ready yet, dear. The event starts in less than an hour. Where is your costume? What happened to your crew? Are you all finished?”
“So many questions. Relax. Everything is done, everything is in order. My outfit is in the dressing room. I will change right now, Your Majesty,” replied Alice in a calm, reassuring voice.
However, the queen, as always, was not in a joking mood. “Don’t ‘your majesty’ me. Get dressed now!” she shouted. “Be back in ten minutes so I can give final instructions to the staff.”
“I’m just trying to get in character for tonight,” giggled Alice to herself. “I’m going to go change now. Be back soon.”

First to arrive at the Wonderland’s Fairy Tale Ball was Princess Aurora and Prince Philip. As the doors opened to allow the first glimpse of the rabbit hole, Aurora grabbed Philip’s arms and pulled him inside, where they were instantly greeted by the impatient, overzealous Mad Hatter welcoming them.
“Tea, tea have some tea. Place your donations in the kettle and have some tea,” he instructed.
“Yes, please, why thank you.” Aurora smiled as she picked up a rose-shaped teacup. She turned to Philip. “This is so beautiful. Have you ever seen anything like it?”
“Clean cup, clean cup, move down, move down! You must keep moving down the hall,” the Mad Hatter insisted. “No time to stop, no time to stop! You’ll be late! You’ll be late, late late!” His voice became more intense with each repetition of ‘late’.
“Very well, we will. Come, Aurora,” Philip coaxed as he took her hand. Slipping their donation into one of the kettles and placing the lid back on top, Aurora and Philip continued until they came to the deck of hearts perfectly in line.
“It’s almost like iron soldiers you see in a castle,” laughed Philip. “A deck of playing cards, ready to protect their queen, no doubt.”
With that, the deck parted to reveal the Queen of Hearts. “Your Majesty,” they said to her and bowed.
“Welcome, Prince Philip and Princess Aurora,” the queen said with a half-smile. “We are so excited you are able to join us tonight. We hope you will enjoy yourself in the Enchanted Forest. Keep a sharp eye for the White Rabbit as he will alert you to any changes in the night.”
“Thank you, Your Majesty. I’m sure we will have a most excellent evening,” Prince Philip replied with a twinkle in his eye as he glanced at Aurora, who was already having a great time, even though they had not even made it inside the ball yet.
As the Queen of Hearts opened the ballroom doors, Aurora gasped and squeezed Philip’s hand. Together they walked in and the door shut behind them, just in time for the next couple to be announced at the door.
The double doors opened again for the arrival of the princesses Jasmine and Cinderella.
“Oh Ellen, look, look at all those cute little teacups,” Megan gasped. “It’s like the perfect little tea party.”
“Your Majesty must be mistaken,” the Mad Hatter scolded her. “This here is my tea party and I’m afraid there is no one here that exists by that name. If your majesties will remember the rules of the evening to bring this night along without a hitch and fun for all. Please refer to yourself only by the character you were provided with.” Laughing, he turned and continued his speech. Bouncing away, he rambled, “Clean cup, clean cup! Move down, move down! Place your donation in the kettle and have some tea.”
“Why, Hatter, should we move down?” jested Cinderella. “We have not even had a cup of tea yet.”
In a more obnoxious voice, the hatter jumped in, “Clean cup, clean cup! MOVE down! The queen awaits at the end of the hall. But there is one thing I know, and one thing you must know too. You should always make the queen wait until after you have had your tea.”
“That does not sound like good advice to me,” Cinderella piped up.
“How should I know?” laughed the Mad Hatter.
“Well, you are quite mad, I feel.” Cinderella laughed harder than the Mad Hatter. She reached for a tea kettle of white decorated with small gold roses etched into the handle. “I think this one is amazing, Jasmine. I wonder where it comes from. I would so much like one of these at our house.”
“Wonderland, of course,” smiled Jasmine, playing her part.
“Precisely,” the Mad Hatter jumped in again.
“Come, Cinderella. We must be going.” Jasmine’s words were cut short by the deck of hearts parting to show their queen.
“Come here, my dears,” she called to them. “Come close. A special night waits for you.”
“Your Majesty,” Cinderella and Jasmine said simultaneously.
“Welcome, Cinderella and Jasmine, we are so excited you are able to join us tonight,” the queen said, inclining her head. “We hope you will enjoy yourself in the enchanted forest.” Pausing, she added, “One more thing. Be sure to keep a sharp eye for the White Rabbit. He will alert you of any changes in the night. If you are ready, the Enchanted Forest waits for you.” The doors opened to reveal the spectacular sights the Enchanted Forest had to offer. The girls took a few steps into the room and the doors closed beside them.
Next to arrive were Prince Charming and Snow White, Prince Eric and Ariel. “I hope this night is worth it,” complained Prince Eric. “I don’t understand why we couldn’t just stay in, watch a little tv and send a donation. I mean, seriously, do we have to go to every charity event on the planet?”
“Eric, you should have known these two would take any invitation that required us to dress up in these penguin suits and treat them like princesses for an entire evening,” Charming told him. “Just take comfort in knowing they owe us big. We should earn some serious points for this. The next time we want to watch a game or go to one we can just remind them of how we suffered through this.”
“You better be right about that,” moaned Eric.
Luckily for them, Ariel and Snow White were too busy putting final touches to their makeup to be concerned about what their husbands were saying. When the doors opened, even Prince Eric and Charming were surprised.
Charming laughed. “It really does look like Wonder-land in here.”
“I wonder if we get to eat that cake,” muttered Eric.
“The queen will not like that at all,” said the Mad Matter, tipping his hat. “But that’s half the fun.”
“Better not make the queen mad or it will be off with your head,” joked Charming.
To which Ariel joined in, “You will be fine as long as you don’t paint her roses red.”
“So true, so true … She does love those roses and they certainly would make you dead. But for now, just enjoy a cup of tea. Do you like tea? You must; why, what a silly question. Everyone does! Must Like Tea. Pour yourself a nice warm cup, put your donations in the kettles.”
“Tea is so disgusting,” moaned Eric. “Is there anything else?”
“Oh, Eric, there is not even tea in these cups. Relax. It’s just his part. Try to have a little fun,” Ariel said as she grabbed a tea kettle decorated as the sea with a seahorse on the front which looked to be made from diamonds, sapphires, and emeralds.
“Look at this one,” Snow White said as she held up a kettle which appeared to be a mirror reflecting all the splendor of the rabbit hole. They each placed their donation into a kettle and put the lid gently back on the top. With that, the Mad Hatter chimed in, “Clean cup, clean cup, move down, move down.”
“Great, more tea!” Eric complained.
“Oh, cheer up, Prince Eric, we are sure to not have any more once we leave this room,” mused Charming.
“So patronizing, aren’t we?” Eric shot back.
As if to still an argument, the Queen of Hearts suddenly appeared before the small party. “Welcome, Prince Charming and Snow White, and Prince Eric and Ariel to the Enchanted Forest. Please keep a sharp eye for the White Rabbit as he will inform you of any changes to the night.” With that, she threw open the doors to the Enchanted Forest.
“Look at all those trees covered in lights and gems. It is spectacular. Let’s go in!” Ariel exclaimed. She was by far more excited than all the rest.
As they walked in, the final group for the evening arrived. The doors opened with the announcement of the arrival of Rapunzel, Aladdin, and Prince Charming. “I wonder if Princess Jasmine is here yet?” Aladdin questioned as he and Charming escorted Rapunzel into the rabbit’s hole.
“I’m not sure if we should be excited or afraid to start the night off by going down the rabbit’s hole. Does anyone else find it odd?” whispered Rapunzel.
The Mad Hatter jumped in front of them. “Welcome! Have a cup of tea, help yourself. Leave the donations in the kettle.”
“Who are you?” questioned Rapunzel.
“Why, the Mad Hatter, of course.” Taking a bow, he smiled and continued, “Take a cup, drink the tea, enjoy your party!”
“Oh, why, I would love a cup,” Rapunzel laughed as she picked up an empty glass and pretended to drink it. “Aladdin, choose a kettle to put our donation in.”
As Aladdin put the donation in the kettle the Mad Hatter once again insisted, “Clean cup, clean cup, move down! Move down!”
“But I have a clean cup.” Rapunzel raised her brow at the strange instructions. But he was mad, she reasoned, so maybe he did not know the difference between clean and dirty.
“Move down! Move down! Clean cup, must have a clean cup. You must keep moving down,” he urged.
“If you insist.” Rapunzel smiled. The deck parted to once again show the Queen of Hearts.
“Bring the princess here,” the queen called out. Rapunzel grabbed her brother’s arms and pulled them close and approached the queen. “You need not fear, dear. Welcome, Rapunzel, Aladdin, and Charming, to the Enchanted Forest. Keep a sharp eye for the White Rabbit. He will announce any changes to the evening.” With that, the queen smiled and threw open the doors to let them pass. Once the doors were again closed, Alice appeared on the side of the queen.
“How is it going tonight so far, Hatter?” questioned Alice.
He gave her a big smile. “Tonight is off to a great start. So far eleven guests have made their way in. Princess Belle, however, did not accept our invitation but did send her apologies with a donation.”
“Excellent,” Alice said, looking around to make sure everything was still orderly. “I was hoping for a little better turnout, but 11 is not bad. It looks like we will have enough to complete our goal. Go find the White Rabbit and make sure he is ready at exactly midnight. Any delays will come with the severest consequences from the queen.”
“Are you sure this plan of yours will work?” the queen asked her, looking rather unassured and irritated.
Trying to sound as convincing as possible Alice assured her, “It must work. It is the only option that we have. Let’s go in and join our guests.”
Together, Alice and the Queen of Hearts walked into the Enchanted Forest while the Mad Hatter went off in search of the White Rabbit.

Format: 13.5 x 21.5 cm
Number of Pages: 106
ISBN: 978-1-64268-098-0
Release Date: 12.09.2019
GBP 12,50
GBP 7,99