Tell the Wizard What He Wants

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Once there was a boy who had a very unfortunate experience. He lived in a fairy tale, and this is why he was not very surprised when a wizard stopped him on the way home, and asked where he was going. The boy said nothing, because he had learned a long time ago that the best way to stay out of trouble with adults was to say nothing. He was right most of the time, but not this time.

“Cat got your tongue, eh?” the wizard said. “Very well, then. When you get home, I will have your tongue, and you will answer every question truthfully . . . until you come back here, and answer mine.”

The boy’s eyes got very wide, and he scurried home right away. When he got there—he was late—his father yelled at him. “Late again! Why are you always late?”

“Because you are always late,” the boy said simply. “I learned it from you.”

This of course astonished everyone in the room, and his mother even dropped a plate.

“And why have you never said anything about it before?” his father said, angry and stung.

“Because I would get into big trouble. Like I think I did just now.”

His mother looked at him knowingly. “You can be a little later, dear. Better run back to the wizard and tell him what he wants.”

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