Once there was a Puppet Master who lived at 432 Oakwood Lane in Fantasyland. The Puppet Master’s latest creations were the characters from Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.”
At the end of the month, he would present the show at the local concert hall with an orchestra. He liked to hold rehearsals for his children every week, practicing for the upcoming event. His small blue and yellow puppet stage with a red curtain stood at the front of his workshop. Painted chairs sat in front of the stage for his two young children, Elizabeth, and Timothy.
More than any other performance, the Puppet Master had planned perfection for this show. He chiseled the faces of the lead characters with great detail and painted them with care. Then he attached the strings to their hands, legs, and body with just enough glue.
“Come to my workshop this afternoon for a practice show . . .” he told his children.
“Yes, Father,” Elizabeth and Timothy said, giddy with excitement for “The Magic Flute.”
They loved their father’s puppets more than almost anything, even store-bought toys. In fact, he had made them each a puppet that resembled their own features. Elizabeth liked hers so much, that she hardly played with it. It only hung on her bedpost.
However, Timothy played with his so much that the strings needed to be replaced. When the afternoon’s show began, the Puppet Master had the main characters in each hand. He pulled their strings, moving them left and then right again, adjusting their heads. Behind the puppet stage, the Puppet Master mimicked voices for the characters.
As the story went on, Elizabeth noticed that the puppets were not following her father’s directions. He would pull their hands in one direction, and they would move their feet in another. Even lesser characters like the three child-spirits, which were almost angels, did not obey.
“Father! The puppets have minds of their own,” Elizabeth said, standing up abruptly.
“Yes, father, I think they are purposely not doing what you want,” Timothy said. The Puppet Master stopped the show and look closely at his unruly creations.
“Well then, we will practice another day,” he said, ushering his children to their mother. He placed his wooden characters on his workbench with their strings tangled in a mess.
Then he fell asleep sitting on his work stool, unsure how his creatures had minds of their own. When he woke up, he found himself tied with strings to his workbench, not able to move.
“Elizabeth! Timothy! Come quickly! My puppets have bound me to my workbench!” he called. The children ran into their father’s workshop, stunned at the web made by the puppets. The wooden puppets sat lifelessly on the workbench as though they had never moved an inch.
“How did this happen, Daddy?” Elizabeth said, snipping the chords with a scissor. Timothy untangled the chords between the Puppet Master’s feet, so his father could stand up.
“Father, maybe we will have to make friends with the puppets,” Timothy said, scratching his head.
“We really don’t want them to do this on the night of ‘The Magic Flute’ performance,” he said.
“It’s quite a pickle, isn’t it?” the Puppet Master said, stretching out his arms and legs. “Maybe I will try to teach them their parts, so they can perform the roles themselves. Apparently, they don’t like taking my instructions, even if I planned the show to perfection.”
So, the Puppet Master taught his puppets everything he knew and never pulled their strings again.
Copyright 2015 Jennifer Waters