Clues to Happiness – 5

story and illustration by Prakhya Bhageria

The story so far (see Clues to Happiness parts 1, 2, 3 and 4):

“Julie, I –we- ourselves don’t believe, or even understand what is happening,” said Lucy.

Julie said as patiently as she could, “Guys, whatever it is, you can tell me. Is there any problem? Do you need any help?”

“Julie, all you must do is trust us. And if we need any help you will be the first person we will ask,” Lucy assured her.

Julie looked at them searchingly for a long moment and finally said, “Fine, I trust you,” and left for her room.

After Julie left Fred turned to face Lucy and said, “Lucy! Couldn’t you have made a simple excuse instead of that ‘trust me’ thing? Now, sooner or later, we’ll have to tell her the truth.

“At least, now she’ll REALLY trust us,” retorted Lucy.

“Whatever! Now we let’s go, check out the address on the paper.”

“Fred, it’s almost evening; we can’t go out. Let’s start tomorrow”


It was 9 o’clock in the morning. Fred and Lucy were walking towards the address on the paper that had come out from the mouth of the statue.

“Oh! I am so happy. It’s summer vacation, finally!”, Exclaimed Lucy.

“I don’t care,” replied Fred.

They reached a street where the houses were really old, and finally found themselves standing outside the address written on the piece of paper. The house looked very, very old–probably constructed around the time of the First World War, thought Lucy.

“Fred, Do you think this is the right place?” asked Lucy slowly “ I expected it to be a little more modern.”

“It has to be,” said Fred. “This is exactly what I thought the place would look like,” said Fred and walked up to the door. Lucy stared after him, wonderingly and followed him across the front yard full of dried grass. They rang the bell and an old, dry voice answered, “Yes? Who’s there?”

“Ummmm….I am Lucy with my brother Fred”

The door opened and an old man who looked in his 80’s peered out.

“Do I know you?” the man asked in a wheezy voice.

“No, but Archibald sent us,” repllied Lucy. “To get a book telling us how to find the wishing flowers,” she explained.

The old man looked wary. “Come in, ” he said, leading them through the old house into the drawing room and sat down on the old fashioned sofa. Lucy and Fred sat down near him.

There was a minute of silence, and finally the man said, “How do I know you have not been sent by thieves wanting the flowers for their own selfish ends?”

Lucy handed him the paper that Archibald had given them. The man stared at the paper for a moment and said, “Archibald must have told you the story. I was there–there with him in the Amazon, but he got separated from us. I wish I could help him. But look at me. Do you think I can help my dear friend? No!”

The kids stayed silent. The old man got up and disappeared through a door. Presently he came back with an old, dusty book.

“Here you go kids,” said the man handing them the book. “You will bring Archie back, right?”

“Yes,” said Lucy softly. “Well, we should leave now.”

The old man nodded and followed them to the front door. As the kids left they heard him call out: “BY THE WAY, MY NAME IS ROBERT KAIL.”

“OK MR.KAIL!” they called back.

Fred looked at the thick, dusty old volume that Robert Kail had given them as they walked away from his house. “Great! Now that we’ve got the book, all we have got to do is follow the instructions,” he said happily.

“And you think that will be easy?”asked Lucy witheringly.

“Of course not!”

Fred and Lucy went to a park nearby and found a vacant bench. They sat down quietly and opened the book. Fred found the chapter on “Wish-Fulfillment Flowers” in the index and opened the page.

He tried to read a few lines on the page, and then finally said, “I don’t understand a word of it.”

“Stupid! This is old English!”

“Yeah! Yeah!….and you are the bookworm, not me. You read it and tell me everything by tomorrow,” grinned Fred, handing her the book.

“This boy!” muttered Lucy under her breath as they walked towards the house.

To be continued …

Prakhya Bhageria is 13 years old and a student of class VIII in New Delhi. She loves reading, writing, crafts and art.

Clues to Happiness-4

story and illustration by Prakhya Bhageria

The story so far (see Clues to Happiness parts 1, 2 and 3):

“Thank you, Friends”, said Archibald.

“Our Pleasure!” Fred winked at him.

Lucy and Fred had already thought about what they would wish for when they got the flowers.

“But Mr. Archibald, how will we know how to find the flowers?” asked Lucy confused. Archibald’s mouth opened and a chit flew out. Fred’s hand caught it swiftly.

“Go to this address and find this book; it has everything you need to know.” said Archibald. “Go … go fast and be careful … Never, ever lose that book. It has only five copies—only five—and is worth billions!”

Just then the lights came back on. “Oh!! Light is back,” said Fred as they saw all the lights and the living room TV working again.

Turning back towards Archibald they saw that his eyes had stopped glowing and he was back to being a normal statue.

Lucy and Fred stood silently, trying to make a sense of what had happened and trying to believe that whatever had happened was true. After a few minutes the door banged open and Julie entered.

“Sorry kids, it took me a little long to get home,” she said as soon as she entered. Then, looking at their faces she asked, “What happened? Why are you staring at this statue as if it is a dead mouse?” She moved forward to look closely into their faces.

“Oh my goodness! You have turned grey … hello? hello?” She waved her hands in front of their faces, but they didn’t answer. Julie went to kitchen, brought two glasses of water and threw it at them.

They both came to themselves, spluttering!

“JULIE!!WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!!” they both shouted in shock.

“C’MON!! YOU GUYS WERE STANDING LIKE YOU’D SEEN A GHOST!” she shouted back at them. Taking a deep breath she said to herself, “Calm down Julie … breathe!”

She turned towards the kids and asked softly “Can you please tell me what happened?”

“Nothing, really,” replied Lucy, scared.

“Don’t LIE to me, Lucy! I’ve known you for the past six years!” Julie was really angry.

“Oops!!What to say?”, whispered Fred.

To be continued …

Prakhya Bhageria is 12 years old and a student of class VII in New Delhi. She loves reading, writing, crafts and art.

Clues to Happiness-3

written and illustrated by Prakhya Bhageria

The story so far (see Clues to Happiness-1 and Clues to Happiness-2): Fred, eleven, and Lucy, fifteen, are orphans in Oakland, California, being reared by their mother’s friend Beatrice Glynn with the help of a young nanny, Julie. Beatrice gives them a beautiful wooden statue with red eyes as New Year present. One evening, when Fred is alone in the house, there is a power cut. As Fred is looking for a torch in the dark, he sees an eerie red light and turns to see two red eyes watching him. Just then Julie comes in and they both start searching f or the source of the light. They find that the light is coming from the eyes of the statue and it is alive. It starts talking to them …

The mouths of both children dropped open. They started to walk towards the statue with trembling legs, staring at it with shocked eyes.

“Hello,” said the statue softly. It looked to be in a joyful mood.

“Umm…Hi,” replied Lucy cautiously. There was a long silence.

“Y-you are a t-talking statue?” asked Fred timidly, breaking the silence.

“No, I’m not a statue at all.” Seeing their bewildered faces the statues continued, “It’s a long story, and I need your help. Will you help me?

“What kind of help do you want?” asked Lucy politely. The statue’s face turned serious.

­­­­­­­­­­“My name is Archibald Godoy, and I was once a human being, just like you -”

“Really? So, how did this happen to you?” asked Fred cutting in.

“That is what I am telling you. I was a very experienced hunter. Once I went on a hunting expedition to the Amazon. There, one day, I got separated from my companions. I was trying to locate them when lost my­ bag–actually a monkey snatched it from me.”

“All that I had–my map, compass, provisions, survival kit–everything was inside that bag. With it gone I was totally lost. I walked a few miles till I reached a trail. I followed that trail. I wish I hadn’t followed it!.”

“Why?” asked Fred, unable to curb his curiosity.

Archibald got irritated. “I am telling you!! And don’t keep interrupting me. Got it?”

Fred nodded, scared.

“So, where was I? Yes….that trail led me to a tribal settlement. I thought I might be able to get help form the people there, but I was wrong. The tribals captured me and put me in a cage. I tried to escape, but they caught me and put a terrible curse on me that turned me into a wooden statue. I was picked up from the hut of the tribe’s headman by some invaders and sold to a dealer of handicrafts. From there I was bought by a New York shopkeeper. And that’s where your guardian bought me for you.”

There was a big pause, as Archibald recalled his horrible adventure. Then he continued:

“To break this curse I need the last two wish-fulfilment flowers left in the whole world. And to get them I need your help. Will you help me?”

“What will you give us, if we help you?”asked Lucy.

“See, there will be two wish-fulfilment flowers. They have to be together to break this curse, but only one wish will get used. The second wish is yours,” replied Archibald.

Lucy and Fred looked at each other with shining eyes. Lucy turned to Archibald and said. “Yes, we will help you!”

To be continued …

Prakhya Bhageria is 11 years old and a student of class VII in New Delhi, India. She  loves reading, music and arts & crafts.

Clues to Happiness-2

by Prakhya Bhageria

The story so far (see Clues to Happiness-1): Fred, eleven, and Lucy, fifteen, are orphans in Oakland, California, being reared by their mother’s friend Neatrice Glynn with the help of a young nanny, Julie. Beatrice gives them a beautiful wooden statue with red eyes as a New Year present. One evening, when Fred is alone in the house, there is a power cut. As Fred is looking for a torch in the dark, he sees an eerie red light and turns to see two red eyes watching him …

“L-Lucy, i-is it y-you?” stammered Fred, his heart hammering loudly in his ears. “I-I know it’s just you” … He could feel chills down his spine! Suddenly the door flew open. His heart started beating faster than ever. The torch dropped from his nerveless fingers. As he backed away from the door, he slipped on the torch.

Someone entered the house. It was too dark for him to see who it was. “Fred?” a familiar voice called.

“Lucy” Fred sighed, relived. “Thank goodness, it’s you”. Lucy was carrying a torch too. She flashed it towards him and asked, “What are you doing down there? And don’t worry there’s a power cut in our area.”

“I just fell on the floor,” Fred assured her. “Oh! And did you -” Lucy began to say, but stopped as she saw the red light flashing.

“Oh my God! How did you do this?” she asked, amused.

“But I didn’t do it,” protested Fred. “I thought you did!” They both looked at each other. As they had from early childhood, each understood what the other wanted to say.

“If you don’t know what this is and I don’t know what it is, then what in the world IS it,” said Lucy’s expression, but Fred’s face only showed fear. Lucy flashed her torch towards the red eyes and saw that it was the wooden statue.

“Please take that away; my eyes hurt”, a soft male voice begged.

“Who i-is it?” Fred stuttered. They looked around the room but could not see anyone.

“Its me, here,” the voice replied. They both turned in the direction of the voice as saw the statue’s mouth moving.

To be continued …

Prakhya Bhageria is 11 years old and a student of class VII in New Delhi, India. She  loves reading, music and arts & crafts.

Clues to Happiness -1

the first part of a serial story by Prakhya Bhageria

original sculpture in the illustration by Vaibhav Agarwal

Eleven year-old Fred and his 15 year-old sister Lucy thought they were the only children on the planet who had no parents. Their parents died when Fred was a year old. They now lived in Oakland, California, and their mother’s best friend, Mrs. Beatrice Flynn now took care of them. She was a strict lady, but very nice too. She rented a small apartment in which the children lived with a young and kind nanny named Julie. Beatrice lived nearby with her family and visited them every day before leaving for work. She bought clothes and other things for them once a month, and gave them gifts on special occasions.

Today the children were very happy as it was New Year. Lucy was looking forward excitedly to their New Year presents from Beatrice, but Fred didn’t care. They were sitting on the living room couch.

“I am so excited,” said Lucy. “I wonder what presents she has for us this year!

“Ah! I don’t care. It will be another set of boring books,” said Fred.

“Don’t be silly!” said Lucy. “The books she gave us for Christmas are one of the best gifts we have ever got!”

“Oh! Forget ..” began Fred, but was cut off by the door bell.

“Coming,” Julie said from the kitchen. She ran to the door and opened it. Beatrice entered and Lucy jumped off the sofa in excitement.

“Surprise!” shouted Beatrice happily as she entered. She walked over to Lucy and Fred and gave them a big kiss each.

Everyone wished each other a Happy New Year and cut the vanilla cake Beatrice had brought. After the cake and the delicious lunch Julie had made, Beatrice got up from the dining table and said, “Now it’s time for the gifts!”

They all went into the living room. There Beatrice opened a bag she had brought with her and took out a beautiful key chain for Julie. “Oh! Thank you, Mrs. Flynn. This is lovely,” said Julie.

Then Beatrice took out a very beautiful wooden statue from the bag and handed it to the children. The statue was around 15 inches long, and was of the masked face of a man. The mouth of the statue’s mask was very large. The statue was made of some light brown wood and painted golden: all except its eyes, which were made of red marble beads.

“This is for you kids,” said Beatrice smiling. “Wow, this is beautiful,” said Lucy snatching the statue from Fred. Fred, too, was fascinated by the statue. “It really  is the best gift we’ve ever got!” Fred exclaimed. Julie took the statue from Lucy and displayed it on a shelf behind the living room couch. It looked wonderful there.

The day after the New Year, Fred came home from school to find the apartment empty. Lucy had not gone to school, but neither she nor Julie were anywhere to be seen. The winter days were short and it was already getting dark outside. Fred got scared. He finally went to the kitchen and found two notes stuck on the fridge.

The first was from Lucy saying-

“Hey Fred, I am going out with my friends. I’ll come back soon—Lucy”

The second from Julie saying:

“Hey Kids, I am going for some shopping. The lunch is in the fridge. Just heat it in the microwave—Julie”

Fred was relived. But just as he opened the refrigerator, the lights went off. “Oh no! Why did this have to happen!” Fred murmured. He went to the living room for the torch. Opening drawers in the darkness, he wasn’t able to find it. Just then, he saw a red light flashing towards him. He turned back to see two red eyes watching him.

To be continued …

Prakhya Bhageria is 11 years old and a student of class VII in New Delhi, India. She loves reading and writing stories, crafts and arts, and surfing the net.

Vaibhav Agarwal is 13 years old and a student of class VIII in New Delhi, India. His hobbies include sports and crafts.

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