Once the boss of the bumblebees and Old Dame Hornet went on a date to see the fabulous star perform in a ballet. Old Dame Hornet was so moved by Leaping Beauty's talent that she tossed a bunch of roses on the stage.
Leaping Beauty bowed most graciously. Then she leaped all the way from the stage into the second balcony and gave Old Dame Hornet a kiss.
The ancient thing melted into happy tears and said, "You'd never be so good if I hadn't blessed you when you were born, my dear. I'm so proud of you I could sting myself to death!"
The king and queen of the frogs, applauding from the royal box across the theater, murmured fondly, "Oh, don't do that!" Then they invited Old Dame Hornet back to the Lily Pad Palace for a light refreshment. But the old fairy declined, and the boss of the bumblebees flew her home.
There she said good night and went inside to write in her journal. The silence at the bottom of the oak tree was gratifying, and so were her memories of the evening.
The foregoing is the complete short story titled Leaping Beauty from the book of the same name by Gregory Maguire. Text copyright © 2004 by Gregory Maguire. Illustrations copyright © 2004 by Chris Demarest. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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