Once upon a time, in a land far away, a little boy was born. His mother and father thought he was the most adorable baby they had ever seen. They were so proud of him that every day they dressed him in the most beautiful clothes they could find and they walked through the three streets of their small village to show him off.
“Even when he cries, he is handsome, his tears like perfectly formed crystal pearls,” his mother would say.
And this baby, Kyle, grew more healthy and strong every day, soon becoming the most handsome, the best dressed, and the most graceful lad for miles around. Everything he did was perfect.
“Why can’t you be more like Kyle,” neighborhood parents would ask their children, “look how he walks, with his head high and his shoulders square and his long legs and arms so nimble and elegant and fine.”
Until, as the years passed, other boys became jealous of the lad, and they would not include him in their games or their play. Kyle was very sad and his perfect smile changed to a perfect frown.
One day, a circus came to Kavinia and all the villagers went to see it. There were dancing elephants and ferocious tigers. There were clowns. Dogs jumped through fiery hoops and sparkly-clad ladies flew on trapezes, their bodies glistening. Now, also in that circus, there was hidden behind a tall tree, a tent made out of gingersnaps with elegant ropes of red licorice tied to lollipop stakes. And, while the other children were laughing and playing with each other, Kyle was wandering around by himself. He came upon the fancy tent and was drawn to it like a bee is to honey. Inside, it was very dark and scary—except for a dazzling large crystal ball covered with cotton candy hanging down from the center of the tent pole. His mouth watered and he reached out to pinch off a piece of the delicious-looking spun candy.
Suddenly sparks of fire jumped around the ball and a very old and very ugly witch appeared.
“How dare you touch my crystal ball,” she shouted, shaking her wart-covered finger in his face, “because you did this, I hereby cast a spell on you: from henceforth, you will be as plain as you now are handsome, you will be as poor as you were rich, and you will be as clumsy as you are now graceful,” waving a black magic wand above his head.
A different Kyle ran out of that tent, tripping over his own feet, down to the lake to see his reflection in the water. It was true! Gone were his handsome blonde locks, his smooth creamy skin, his fine clothes! A stranger looked back at him in the water. He had a face with pimples and a runny nose, unkempt brownish dirty hair and a body dressed in tattered and patched clothes. He turned away slowly, his once proud and straight shoulders now slumped as he stumbled along back to the circus.
Then an amazing thing happened!
“Hey, look, a new boy! What’s your name, fella? Mine’s Gabe and this there is Pete. Wanna play marbles with us?”
For the first time in his life, other children wanted to be friends with him! He got down in the dirt with them and learned how to play without caring about messing up his expensive fancy clothing. Instead of holding his head stiff and proud, he let it hang loose, no longer haughty. He learned to laugh at himself along with others when he fell or knocked over his mother’s knick-knacks or when his gangly legs and arms seemed to wave every which-way. He ran in an awkward skip-step ungainly pattern, like the wind, laughing as his hair tussled and his shirttails trailed out behind him.
At first, his parents did not like the new him. But, when they saw how happy he was, how kind and good he was to them and his friends, how natural and humble he had become, they loved him all the more and everyone lived happily ever after.
And what happened to the wicked old witch? She threw away her black magic wand and her crystal ball and invited the neighborhood children to eat her tent. For she didn’t need it anymore. She retired from the circus and lived amongst them, finding joy in watching Kyle become known as The Klutz of Kavinia.
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