A Fairy Tale

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Billy Bunker Meets Dunkers Troll

Written and Illustrated by Zeborah Loray

Billy Bunker caught a cold and had to stay in bed. He lay awake, imagining, after Billy Goats Gruff was read.

"I'd like to catch a troll," he thought. "I could keep it for a pet. It would be more fun than a dog or cat or even a bullfrog, I'll bet."

So Billy climbed right out of bed and went off to hunt a troll. He crawled out his bedroom window and discovered a deep, dark hole. The hole led down beneath the hedge, he'd never seen it there before. "Now who could have dug that?" Billy thought. He saw footprints, counted the toes, only four.

Billy hunkered down to look, the tunnel was darker than night. Far off in the distance he thought he saw some light. It was a scary thing to do, but Billy wriggled in. He crawled along til he emerged into the light again.

"What strange and wondrous place is this?" Billy hardly believed his eyes. "The trees are blue, and grass is pink." His mouth opened wide in surprise.

Then Billy spied a lovely pool, it looked just right for a dip. He cupped some water in his hands and started to take a sip. From underneath a lily pad Billy thought he saw a bubble. He stooped down for a closer look and that's when he got into trouble.

Something jumped out of the pond. Then it scurried behind a tree. He heard it giggling at him. He said, "Hey, stop laughing at me."

Billy spied two beady eyes peaking from around a tree. He could hear a laugh and a chuckle. It said "Tee hee, hee, hee."

First it hid, then peeked at Billy. Then it hid and peeked some more. He could tell from all its antics it had a lot more tricks in store. Then it jumped back in the pond---Ker-Splash!---it got him wet. Billy chased right after it. "I'm not going to give up yet."

They ran and chased and tumbled 'til he caught it by the tail. Then everyone for miles and miles must have heard it rail. Billy held on tight to it and bound it round with vines. He dragged it back beneath the hedge, ignoring its growls and whines.

"This is a troll!" thought Billy. "Look at the tail and pointy ears. Hey, it has a bow in its hair. So its a girl troll, it appears."

He crawled back inside his window and locked her in a drawer. He remembered what his parents said when he'd caught wild things before. Mom said, "Remember Billy, creatures like snakes and bugs and bats, don't co-exist successfully with boys and dogs and cats. Some live just fine in houses, but I'm afraid some pets do not. Please learn to be contented with the critters that you've got."

But Billy felt that if he could tame this troll down just a bit, he could convince his Mom to let him try to house break it.

When Mom came in to check on him he jumped quickly back in bed. She brought him in a glass of juice and lay a cool hand on his head. She said, "Hey there, my little pumpkin, I'm glad to see you've had some rest." Billy didn't tell where he'd really been; he thought that seemed the best.

There'd be time later to explain about the little troll. So he just asked, "Could I please have some cookies in a bowl?" He wasn't sure just what trolls ate, but thought he'd start with something sweet. That way, if she didn't like them, Billy could have a treat.

Mom brought in the cookies. "Play quietly now, dear. If there's anything you want or need, just call to me, I'll hear."

Billy took the troll out, to try and make her tame. He decided, first things first, she'd need to have a name. He said, "I could call you Sara, that's a favorite with us Bunkers." The little troll looked up at him, said, "Hey Bud---the name is Dunkers!"

Judging from her attitude, this troll had a mind of her own. When she started digging in the trash, Billy began to groan. "No, no Dunkers. Bad troll. Stop! You're making a terrible mess. This could harder than I thought. Lessons start right now, I guess."

Then Dunkers grabbed the cookies and gobbled them all in two bites. She looked Billy in the eye, "Hey, what about my rights? Look here, you silly human, you're the one who's gonna learn. So far, you've been makin' all the rules, I think it's about my turn. I like the food you got here. It's better than Billy Goats Gruff. I think I'll stick around for a while-But I don't take no guff!"

Billy tried arguing with her. They settled on a truce. Dunkers promised, "I'll stay in your room, I won't even try to break loose."

Billy promised Dunkers, "I'll share all of my food and toys."

"Great!" the little troll said, "I won't make too much noise."

Billy hoped it would work out. He really wanted her to stay. When he captured Dunkers he hadn't pictured it quite this way. "I'll have to make the best of it, now that I've got her here. I can see that she won't leave. She's made that perfectly clear."

That evening after dinner he told his mom and dad about crawling out the window and the adventure that he had. He thought that it was only fair to warn them about this pet. but Mom just laughed and said to Dad, "What ideas Billy can get."

"He has quite an imagination," said Daddy, with a grin. He tousled Billy Bunkers' hair and chucked him under the chin.

Billy had the feeling they didn't really comprehend how serious the problem was concerning his new friend. But Dunkers seemed to be behaving, at least for the time being. He hoped the good behavior would last. As for that---well, we'll be seeing.

The Story Behind the Story

When my son was very small we read a story about a boy with an imaginary friend. I asked if he had an imaginary friend. Being an obliging child, he made one up on the spot. She sounded like a lot of fun, so I wrote some stories about her. The adventures of Billy and Dunkers soon took on a life of their own. She is my favorite character to write about.