Maggie the Meerca - a Cautionary Tale
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
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
"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!