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Maggie the Meerca - a Cautionary Tale


by geneames1

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Once upon a time in Neopia there lived a young Meerca named Maggie. She was very sweet, and her parents loved her dearly, but she had one serious character flaw. She was an incessant chatterbox! From the second she opened her eyes in the morning to the last possible moment before she fell asleep at night, Maggie would talk about anything and everything, and sometimes even about nothing at all. When anyone spoke with Maggie the conversation was always distinctly one sided, for no one could get a word in edgewise. Consequently Maggie had no real friends, for no one wanted to associate with a Meerca who valued the sound of her own voice above all else.

      "Maggie!" exclaimed her mother one day in exasperation, hands plastered over her ears, "You need to learn to be quiet once in a while! If you don't, one day your constant chattering is bound to get you in trouble!"

      Maggie blithely disregarded her mother's warnings, and the endless flow of her words never slowed for a moment. Life continued this way until one fateful day during the month of Swimming. It was a beautiful day, warm and clear, and Maggie decided it would be nice to take a stroll in the woods. She told her mother she would be home in time for dinner; then she left the house and started into the forest. As she wandered down the forest path Maggie kept up a constant litany. It was so annoying that even the birds flew away when they heard her approaching, rather than be subjected to her verbal onslaught.

      Now as it so happened, Maggie had chosen a rather unfortunate day to go walking. A Faerie by the name of Minerva was also out enjoying the day, and as she heard the noisy Meerca approaching she felt her agreeable mood evaporating. Minerva was not inclined to be disturbed; she wanted to take a peaceful stroll and did not take kindly to a young Meerca so rudely disturbing her solitude. As Maggie drew near on the path, Minerva turned and asked her politely to please refrain from making so much noise. Maggie ignored the request. In fact, she was so busy chattering that she didn't even hear it. A frown began to form on Minerva's face. Any sensible young Neopet seeing that frown would have fled immediately in terror, but Maggie wasn't sensible. More tersely, Minerva again asked Maggie to be quiet. Again Maggie ignored her, and for Minerva this perceived slight was the last straw. She raised her hand, and as Maggie chattered aimlessly at the trees a spell was cast:

     "Those who would refuse to hear

     the words of others who draw near

     will find their chatter soon cut short,

     and turned to babble of a different sort!"

      Minerva watched impassively as Maggie began to change. Gradually she became translucent, and her form began to lose substance. Her speech took on a bubbling quality and her shape began to change. In a few moments the transformation was complete. Maggie had been turned into a babbling brook! Its clear waters tinkled merrily, splashing over small rocks contained within. The sound was a delight to the ear. Sunlight brilliantly reflected on the water's surface, making it seem as though it were dusted with diamond chips. Standing on the bank, Minerva spoke quietly.

      "Your never-ending stream of words no doubt drove other Neopets away from you. Like many who speak a great deal, you likely said little worth listening to. Now, however, you will find yourself to be the center of attention! Others will seek you out to sit beside your bank, and will delight in the simple pleasure of hearing the gentle murmur of your waters. Eventually you will discover that there is sometimes joy to be had in listening, and that silence can indeed be golden. When you learn that lesson, young Meerca, the spell will be broken."

      With those final words Minerva vanished in a puff of smoke. Maggie was speechless for the first time in her life! Here she was, stuck in the forest and unable to utter a single word to comfort herself. At first she was nonplussed, not at all comfortable with the absence of her voice and unsure of what to do. It had been so long since she'd heard anything but herself that she wasn't certain what to listen for. Gradually, however, she became aware of other sounds. Songbirds in the trees nearby twittered joyfully in a merry chorus, singing in complex rhythms. A soft wind began to blow through the trees, and Maggie could hear the gentle rustling of their leaves. As she was listening to these pleasant sounds a small group of Cybunnies hopped up near the edge of the bank, and began to sample the succulent blades of tender grass that were growing there. One of them sneezed, his nose tickled by a piece of grass he was munching, and Maggie giggled at the sound of it. It was then that she truly realized what the Faerie had been trying to tell her. The revelation stunned her at first. She was saddened to realize just how much she had been missing.

      "Well," she thought firmly to herself, "THAT is going to change! From now on I will only speak when I have something to say. There are so many wonderful things to hear that I don't want to miss any more of them than I have to!"

      As soon as the thought was completed Maggie felt something strange happening. She was changing back into herself! The waters of the brook began to dry up, and her body began to reassume its form. Within a few seconds she was completely back to normal - well, her fur WAS a little damp, but she knew it would dry quickly. With a happy smile she sped up the forest path to her home, while the bemused Cybunnies watched her and wondered what had happened to the stream they had been dining beside. When Maggie walked into the house her Mother sensed something was different. At first she couldn't quite place her finger on it, then she realized with a start what it was. Maggie wasn't talking! Concerned, she looked closely at her daughter.

      "Maggie, are you feeling all right?"

      Maggie smiled warmly. "I'm fine, mother. In fact, I feel terrific! My walk did more good for me than you'll ever know."

      Maggie's mother sighed in relief, then wrapped her arms around her daughter and gave her a big hug. "I'm glad to hear that, sweetheart. Now let's have dinner!"

      From that day forward life was a lot different for Maggie. She became a Meerca with a great many friends who enjoyed her company tremendously; in fact, she developed quite a reputation for being a wonderful listener. She never told anyone what happened to her in the forest that day, but she knew that if she ever saw the Faerie again she would thank her for teaching her a valuable lesson. Legend has it that Minerva still walks in the woods once in a while, so if you don't want to wind up like Maggie, take heed of her tale!

The End

 
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