Disclaimer: This is the translation of the original story, and English is not my native language. So the text may appear awkward and clunky. If you have any improvement recommendations, please, contact me via email: [email protected]
Once upon a time, in a land called Peplandia, lived Pepyaka. He was quite small and often grumpy. Pepyaka and his mom made their home in a big carrot tree deep in a forest.
What a cozy home it was! Mandrake peeked out of a pot by the window, Alpakka grazed in the yard, and behind the kitchen cabinet, Tonttu the house-elf crunched on cookies.
One day, Pepyaka wanted his mom’s signature carrot pie. But, oh no! The long-term stocks of the secret ingredient, the blue-capped mushroom, have run out. Without it, the pie just wouldn’t be the same.
Determined to find the mushroom, Pepyaka decided to go into the forest. He longed for that pie so much! He gathered a bundle of supplies, said bye to his mom, gave a hug to Alpakka and hit the road.
He walked and walked through the forest, yet there was no mushroom. Suddenly, he spotted twinkling lights far away, dancing and swirling. But those were no ordinary lights; they were tricky will-o’-wisps. They led Pepyaka into a swamp, and he got lost!
Pepyaka felt scared but didn’t show it, didn’t even cry. He recalled that the Shaman lived in this very swamp as a hermit. Who better than the Shaman could help him find the mushroom?
Hopping from one swamp hubble to another, Pepyaka reached the Shaman’s hut. The Shaman was already waiting for him at the doorstep: the wind whispered to him that the guest would soon emerge.
The Shaman invited Pepyaka incide and treated him with mushroom tea and dried carrots. Sadly, he hadn’t heard of the blue-capped mushroom in many, many years.
Pepyaka got upset and burst into tears. Better get lost in the swamps than end up without a pie! The Shaman felt sorry for him and decided to ask the spirits for help, as they fly everywhere and know everything.
The Shaman made a special potion and went into a trance to talk to the spirits. And they revealed to him that such a mushroom could be found far, far away, beyond the Sea-ocean, across the Endless Desert, on the top of the Tallest Tower where the Wizard lived.
Pepyaka was surprised, of course, but there was nothing to do but go. He longed for that pie so much! He thanked the Shaman and set off on his journey.
He walked and walked through dense forests, marshy swamps, and vast fields until he reached the Sea-ocean. But how would he cross it? Pepyaka was small, yet the ocean was huge!
Luckily, Pepyaka noticed a boat not far off, swaying on the waves. A pirate flag fluttered atop the mast, and on board, he could see the name “Krovatka.” The captain, dressed in a striped undershirt, was sound asleep on the deck. Pepyaka tried to wake him and implored, “Help me to cross the sea!”
The pirate snored into his pillow for a long while until he finally opened one eye and saw Pepyaka. Initially, he considered tossing him to the mermaids for fun, but he took pity and agreed. After all, it was time to set sail (he had almost overslept!), and sailing together sounded more cheerful.
Onboard the “Krovatka,” they sailed across the Sea-ocean, and the pirate even took a nap again. Suddenly, the wind picked up and the sky darkened. Lightning flashed, the boat spun on the waves, and a monstrous creature emerged from the depths of the sea — the Giant Kraken!
Pepyaka got scared and rushed to wake the captain. But he was in deep slumber, snoring away. Pepyaka had to took hold of the ship’s helm himself! The ship was small, yet the Kraken was huge. Perhaps, if they float quietly, the Kraken wouldn’t notice them.
Pepyaka was terrified but didn’t show it, didn’t even cry. He clung to the helm steadfastly until the Kraken had disappeared into the distance and the storm had abated. It was only then that the captain finally awoke.
They sailed and sailed until they reached the other side of the Sea-ocean. Pepyaka thanked the pirate captain and continued on his way, while the captain made himself comfortable on the “Krovatka” and promptly fell asleep once more.
As Pepyaka pressed on, he wondered how to cross the Endless Desert, where the sun blazed, the wind whipped up, and sand stung the eyes. He needed special clothes, but where could he get them?
Luckily, Pepyaka stumbled upon an oriental bazaar nearby, a place teeming with exotic sweets, wondrous teapots, and even a sand sculpture exhibition. You could buy whatever you wanted there.
Yet, there was a problem: Pepyaka had no money. Disheartened, he sat miserably in the shade. Then Jinni, the wishmaker, saw him and felt compassion. “Come on,” he said, “you can work for me for a day and earn some coins while I fly away to visit my aunty.”
Pepyaka was surprised, of course, but agreed to work for Jinni. He longed for that pie so much! Throughout the day, he fulfilled various wishes: opened a fortuneteller’s third eye, retrieved a lamp from a cave for a suspicious vizier, and captured a huge tangle of snakes for a serpent-charmer.
With the coins he earned, Pepyaka bought special desert clothes and even got a teapot for his mom and a blanket for Alpakka.
Pepyaka put on his special clothes and ventured into the Endless Desert. The sun blazed, the wind whipped up, and sand stung his eyes, but Pepyaka pressed forward, well-prepared.
He walked and walked, and then, suddenly, the sand began to whirl and rise into the blue sky! It wasn’t a mere gust of wind but a gigantic sandworm awakening!
Pepyaka was frightened but didn’t show it, didn’t even cry. He tried to hide, but the Worm had already spotted him. It had opened its massive mouth, ready to devour, when suddenly Pepyaka gave it a grumpy look! The Worm felt ashamed: it was huge, yet Pepyaka was small.
Then the Worm decided to help Pepyaka, carrying him upon its mighty back straight to the end of the Endless Desert. The Tallest Tower was not far from there. Pepyaka thanked the Worm and continued on his journey.
He walked and walked until he finally arrived at the Tallest Tower, where the Wizard lived. What a beautiful tower it was! The tower was a magnificent sight, adorned with colorful stained-glass windows, a flag fluttering at its spire, and rose bushes planted by its wrought-iron gates.
But when Pepyaka got close to the gate, the rose bushes came alive and blocked the road with pikes. They asked the purpose of his visit, and Pepyaka told them his story. He told about the pie and the blue-capped mushroom, how he got lost in the swamps, how Shaman helped him, how he swam across the Sea-ocean with the pirate on “Krovatka”, how he fulfilled the wishes, and even how he crossed the Endless Desert on the back of a giant worm.
Touched by his story, the guard bushes let him into the tower. Pepyaka ascended a spiral staircase for what felt like an eternity until he reached the very top. He knocked on the door, and it immediately opened.
Pepyaka found himself inside the Wizard’s chambers, a place not just of living but of artistry. The room was filled with paints, brushes, still lifes. Posters and paintings adorned the walls, and the Wizard sat at an easel, drawing the blue-capped mushroom.
Pepyaka told the Wizard his story: about the pie and Shaman, the pirate and the Worm, and even how he fulfilled the wishes. The Wizard took pity on Pepyaka and granted him the coveted blue-capped mushroom. Then, to Pepyaka’s surprise, the Wizard painted many more such mushrooms and gifted them to him. Now Pepyaka had lots of mushrooms!
The Wizard then drew an enchanted door that led directly to Pepyaka’s home, for she was truly a remarkable Wizard capable of anything.
Pepyaka thanked the Wizard and stepped through the portal, returning to his home. Everyone was waiting for him there.
Pepyaka presented his mom with the teapot and Alpakka with the blanket, and tucked the special clothes away in a chest. Who knew when it might come in handy?
Mom made tea and baked her signature carrot pie, now complete with the secret ingredient. Tonttu brought cookies from behind the cabinet, and they all had a wonderful feast together!